The county parties shall organize Neighborhood Caucus Elections according to the following rules, set forth in Bylaws Section 10.0 A and B, as well as those rules approved by the State Central Committee as provided in Section 10.0 C. These rules have been designed to promote a welcoming, open, and efficient neighborhood caucus election experience.
The State Party Constitution states: (Article XII Section 1.A)
Each individual caucus shall be open to any Utah citizen who resides in the precinct, who will be at least 18 by the time of that year’s general election. The State Party, through its Bylaws, may restrict participation and voting in the precinct caucuses based on party affiliation.
The State Party Bylaws state (Section 10.0):
- Qualifications and Disqualifications of State and County Delegates. Each individual caucus shall be open to the public. Each participant shall be:
- A Utah citizen who resides in the precinct and
- 18 by that year’s general election.
- A registered Republican party member as referenced in Article I of the Party Constitution or who registers as Republican at the individual caucus meeting. Each participant shall not be a simultaneous officer, delegate, candidate or registered affiliated voter of any other rival political party. (Voter registration materials shall be available at the meeting for those who wish to affiliate that night as Republicans.) For purposes of this Bylaw, “rival political party” means any organization of registered voters currently qualified to fully participate in Utah elections as provided by Utah Code, which is not the Republican Party.
- Each caucus meeting shall use the following agenda:
- Reading of the State or County Platform
- Review of Rules, Procedures, Duties of Precinct and Delegate Positions
- Nominations and Elections
- Other Business as directed by State and/or County Parties1
- Select Election Judges2
- Adjournment of Meeting
- The State Central Committee shall approve any additional Caucus Rules to be used in addition to those outlined in Bylaws Section 10.0 A and B prior to each caucus meeting.
- “Other business” includes solicitation and collection of donations and should be emphasized at the beginning and throughout the meeting at appropriate times.
- “Election Judges” are not utilized in the same manner in Utah as previously; however, county parties should encourage members to volunteer with the local county to work as election & poll workers or to represent the party as election observers and poll watchers during the election times.
Each county party shall designate individuals to conduct its neighborhood caucus elections per its governing documents. The newly elected Precinct Chair will take office at the conclusion of the meeting. The Precinct Host will be responsible for processing the results of the meeting in accordance with instructions from the State Party.
Anyone may attend and observe the neighborhood caucus election as long as they do not commit a breach of decorum and provided there is available space for all credentialed participants as well. In the event one or more such instances occur, the individual may be asked to leave by the Precinct Host.
Caucus meetings are the official private proceedings of the Utah Republican Party and all activities, including free speech demonstrations, protests, and petition gathering, are subject to approval of the party inside the facilities reserved by the party for caucus proceedings. No petitioning or signature gathering will be permitted inside of caucus proceedings or the facilities reserved for caucus business.
Those residents living within the precinct boundaries, who will be at least 18 by the time of the general election, who are registered with the Republican Party, including any residents affiliating that night, and who are properly credentialed are considered “qualified participants” and may speak, vote, and run for precinct offices and/or delegate positions.
Those residents living within the precinct boundaries who will be at least 18 by the time of the general election and not a registered Republican may complete the voter registration form and affiliate as a Republican on the night of the neighborhood caucus election. The Precinct Host will collect the registration form and forward it to the County Party with the precinct packet at the conclusion of the meeting. In 2024, per recent changes in state law setting deadlines for changes in voter affiliation, it is not possible for a voter who is already affiliated with another party to change their affiliation after a deadline in January until after the primary in June. Thus, the only non-Republican voters who can participate in the caucus are either new residents in Utah who are registering for the first time or updating their registration after a lapse in activity, or voters who are “unaffiliated” and not affiliated with another party.
Those residents living within the precinct boundaries who will be at least 18 by the time of the general election and not a registered Republican may complete a voter registration form and affiliate as a Republican on the night of the neighborhood caucus election. The Precinct Host will collect the registration form and forward it to the County Party with the precinct packet at the conclusion of the meeting.
The State Party, through its governing documents, sets the rules for neighborhood caucus elections. The rules are designed to create a standardized procedure throughout the State and to ensure a fair and level playing field for all attendees. These rules cannot be suspended in whole or in part. Robert’s Rules of Order will apply in limited situations (see appendix A). Robert’s Rules of Order will not apply if they conflict with these Neighborhood Caucus Election Rules. In addition to these rules, the State Party will provide a packet for each precinct that includes all required materials and additional administrative instructions deemed necessary to facilitate a successful neighborhood caucus election.
The State Party sets the agenda. The individual precincts do not adopt or amend the agenda. If multiple precincts meet in the same location they may complete all required business in one body prior to the Nominations and Elections section of the agenda. Only the business set forth in the agenda may be conducted at this meeting. Each meeting will follow the following format:
- Reading of the State or County Platform
- Review of Rules, Procedures, Duties of Precinct and Delegate Positions
- Presidential Preference Poll Ballots Collected
- Nominations and Elections (County Parties may change the order) for:
- Precinct Chair
- Precinct Vice Chair
- Precinct Secretary and/or Treasurer
- State Delegate
- County Delegate
- Other Business as directed by State and/or County Parties including the solicitation of donations
- Adjournment of the Meeting
- Collection of ballots should remain open until the end of meeting for stragglers; but, counting can begin to ensure the results can be finalized quickly upon end of meeting
The State Party shall provide the county parties with either an electronic check-in system or the ability to check-in a participant on a pre-populated form that already includes the relevant voter information. The State Party may also provide the ability for participants to preregister for the meeting and this is strongly encouraged. This will ensure a prompt and efficient check-in process.
While the State Party strongly recommends the electronic check-in method, a county party and/or individual participant can choose whether to participate. Blank forms will also be available for those participants who opt-out of the electronic check-in and are not included on the pre-populated form, for whatever reason. County parties will collect and return the forms to the State Party.
Every participant has an opportunity to speak to an issue once before anyone can speak twice. If time limits on debate/speaking become necessary they can be imposed by a majority vote of the participants.
Nominations for state delegate, county delegate and precinct leadership may be made in advance or be taken from the floor. Seconds are not necessary. Only participants may nominate. Only those qualified to participate may be nominated. A participant may self-nominate. A nominee need not be in attendance. The Precinct Host may close nominations for an office only when no further nominations are offered.
Republican Presidential Candidates are deemed nominated if they have properly filed with the Utah Republican Party.
Candidate speeches for state delegate, county delegate and precinct leadership shall be limited to a total of three minutes per office or delegate seat, evenly divided among the candidates, or thirty seconds each, whichever is less, unless modified by a majority vote. Disclosures of candidates with regard to platform planks, employment, personal views, and support for individual candidates are in order.
Voting will be by secret ballot in contested races. In the event that three or more candidates are nominated for the same precinct office or the same delegate position, the caucus may use multiple ballots or preference voting to choose precinct officers or delegates.
Election results can be declared by acclamation if only one nominee is submitted for any given office. One ballot shall be made available to each participant for contested races. The Precinct Host shall announce the vote counts.
All delegate and precinct leadership elections shall be determined by majority vote. Ties shall be determined by a coin toss. Precinct Hosts shall designate two or more non-candidate ballot counters and inform each candidate they may provide a poll watcher. Violations of these procedural rules shall not be a basis for challenging delegate credentials. This does not prohibit county parties from disciplining party officers for such violations.
The State Party recommends each County have a voting method that is fast, fair, and representative of the precinct.
Alternate delegates may be elected if allowed by the respective county party’s governing documents.
The county may collect Presidential Preference Poll ballots at any time during the meeting, but shall keep balloting open through the adjournment of the meeting. Ballots shall not be accepted after the meeting has adjourned. The meeting shall not be adjourned if there are individuals waiting to cast their ballot. The Precinct Host may designate one or more poll watchers to observe the counting of the ballots; qualified participants may volunteer to count ballots. Counting of Presidential Preference Poll ballots may begin during the Election of delegates and precinct leadership in order to facilitate the timely reporting of results. The results of the Presidential Preference Poll for that precinct or in general shall not be reported until the meeting has adjourned, and then only the results for that precinct may be shared with the qualified participants for that precinct.
An in person voter is defined as someone who has successfully credentialed to participate on-site.
A ballot will be available on the state party website containing the name of each qualified presidential candidate. The County Party is responsible for providing the official presidential ballots to qualified participants who attend the caucus in person, but may accept official ballots that were printed by the participant. Write-in candidates are not allowed. Only one candidate may be chosen on the ballot. A ballot that indicates a vote for more than one candidate will be spoiled. Participants are only allowed one vote. Voters must bring a valid Government issued picture identification.
A voided blank copy of the ballot will be posted conspicuously inside the precinct location throughout the registration and meeting.
A ballot template will be available on the State Party’s website for delegate and precinct leadership elections. The County Party may choose to use this ballot or another ballot to conduct these elections.
A registered Republican who is currently out of state on service assignments or overseas but who is eligible to vote under the federal UOCAVA provisions may participate in caucus under similar circumstances. For example, those serving outside the state of Utah on active military duty, or those who are engaged in religious service outside the state of Utah, and who are unable to attend their caucus meeting, may request an absentee ballot during the pre-registration process. In order to ensure that your ballot can be counted by the close of the caucus, the request must be made at least 72 hours before the caucus begins. Additionally, the Republican must specify what specifically is prohibiting them from attending in person. The pre-registration process will verify that the person is a registered Republican and otherwise eligible to participate in the election. Once that person is verified, the person may cast their “ballot” via email. The state party coordinator will forward any local precinct votes to the precinct chair and vice chair prior to the caucus and count the presidential caucus vote centrally. The precinct host will include the ballot for local positions in all rounds of voting. The deputy host [vice chair] along with the precinct host will verify that the ballot is implemented properly.
A registered Republican who has an unavoidable conflict that prevents them from attending caucus in person but is otherwise qualified to participate may ask a registered Republican who lives in the same precinct and is otherwise qualified as a participant to bring an absentee ballot to caucus on their behalf. A caucus participant may bring a maximum of 3 additional ballots of neighbors residing in the same precinct and may bring any absentee ballots from household members residing at the same address. A precinct chair or caucus host may receive any number of absentee ballots from voters in the precinct. Same-day voter registrations for un-registered voters must occur in-person at the caucus. The absentee ballot will be available on the State Party’s website for downloading and printing and will contain the names of qualified Republican Presidential Candidates and blank spaces for delegate and leadership positions. It is incumbent on the absent participant to know and vet delegate and leadership candidates who will run and write the preferred candidate’s name in the relevant place on the ballot.
In order to be considered valid for counting, an absentee ballot must meet the following conditions:
- Sealed in an envelope with a signature of the voter across the seal
- Be accompanied by a photocopy of the absent participant’s government issued-ID & their credential or email receipt from the pre-registration process. It is recommended that the ID & credential be attached to the outside of the envelope if the voter desires a more “secret ballot.”
The name on the ID must match their voter registration file. If the address on their ID does not match their voter registration file, the absent participant must provide the correct address that matches their voter registration file. The Precinct Host must be able to verify their voter registration status and affiliation to the Republican Party either via their credential from pre-registration or on the Lieutenant Governor’s website. Such valid ballots shall be included in all applicable rounds of voting.
In a few very limited cases, the state party in cooperation with specifically approved county parties may conduct some pre-approved precinct caucuses via video conferencing. In such cases, these precinct caucuses may adapt the rules and processes to their needs to ensure substantive alignment and compliance with the core purposes of these rules. Such cases must be pre-approved by the county and state party in advance.
The State Party recommends that county parties provide for and advertise a one-hour meet-and-greet with precinct candidates between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm, directly before the neighborhood caucus election.
The Precinct Host or their designee shall open all absentee ballots at the beginning of the precinct meeting or when the ballot is received, whichever is later, and sort them appropriately into their respective elections to ensure they are counted. The Precinct Host or their designee shall count the ballots in the same room as the caucus was held and in the presence of any attendee who wishes to watch. If ballots are turned in by some voters at the beginning of the meeting, the precinct host shall ensure secure supervision of uncounted ballots by at least two assistants. All presidential preference ballots, including those submitted by absentee, shall be counted together in the precinct. The final counting of ballots for the presidential preference poll will occur at the adjournment of the caucus meeting, but no sooner than 8pm, in order to provide the opportunity for anyone who arrives during the caucus meeting to vote. The results will be reported on a form provided by the state party.
The Precinct Host is responsible for reporting the results of the relevant county delegate, state delegate, precinct leadership and presidential preference vote elections to a designated county party representative (such as a Legislative Chair). Having tallied the results of each race on the form provided by the state party, the Precinct Host shall place all ballots related to each election (state delegate, county delegate, each precinct leadership position, and the presidential preference poll) in a separate sealed folder, envelope or box and turn over this folder, envelope or box to the designated county representative at the time of sharing the results of each race. This designated county party representative will be responsible for uploading the results to a system provided by the State Party and for taking a photo of all ballot reporting forms. It is recommended that each County Party have a designated county party representative in each caucus location in order to facilitate the in-person collection of ballots and results. The County Party chair or his designee will have the opportunity to review the results electronically before they are considered official and shared with the public.
Presidential Preference Poll results will be shared by the State Party only. Only preregistered voters will receive election results by email, if a valid email address was provided.
The County Party shall securely store the ballots for the Presidential Preference Poll for sixty (60) days after caucus night.
The State Party will provide the content for caucus packets to the County Parties. The State Party may charge for sponsorship of caucus packets or inclusion of candidate materials to be distributed at caucus meetings.
Robert’s Rules of Order will apply in limited situations as follows:
- Only the business contained in the call to the meeting can be taken up.
- The provisions of the call, specifying the meeting’s purpose and those invited to attend it, have a force equivalent to bylaws of an organized society; that is, they define the subject matter within which motions are in order, and determine who has the right to participate as members.
- The State Party has the sole right to set the agenda and the business to be conducted.
- The State Party shall select the criteria for the meetings and create the rules.
- The State Party documents define who can be a participant.
- Other rules are seldom necessary unless it is desirable to modify the general rules as to allowable length and number of speeches.
- Any person at a mass meeting who, after being advised, persists in an obvious attempt to divert the meeting to a different purpose from that for which it was called, or who otherwise tries to disrupt the proceedings, becomes subject to the disciplinary procedure.
- The participants have the right to conduct the business.
- The purpose of the meeting shall be read to all participants.
- Only motions that pertain to the purpose of the meeting are in order.
- There is no appeal from the ruling of the chair’s decision in assigning the floor.
- Debate follows the general rules of parliamentary law.
- No one can speak on an issue more than once until all others have had an opportunity to speak.
- A motion to Adjourn is out of order while business is pending.
- When the business for which the meeting was called has apparently been completed and no question is pending, a motion to adjourn is in order.