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Sanpete County Republican Chairman Kim Pickett holds up the election filing form, along with a sheet of signatures that, if enough were gathered and he paid the filing fees, would allow him to legally run for the seat as a democratic candidate—despite his status in the local Republican Party. Pickett says he did it as a statement to prove that the controversial 2014 voting law, SB54, which helps permit ballot access through a signature-gathering process, is backwards and should be nixed.

 

Kim Pickett ‘running’ as democrat

for commission seat to make a point

 

By Robert Stevens

Managing editor

Mar. 22, 2018

 

GUNNISON—Politics at times can be mixed up.

Take, for example, how the Sanpete County Republican Party chairman, Kim Pickett, is running as the democratic candidate for Sanpete County Commission seat A. Or at least he was—having fulfilled all the requirements except for paying the filing fees. Pickett says the experiment was purely a statement.

“I’m really just doing it to prove a point and get a message across,” Pickett said. “I did it to prove the law that allows it doesn’t make sense.”

The law Pickett is referring to is the controversial 2014 voting law SB54, which helps permit ballot access through both a signature-gathering process and the traditional party caucus and convention system.

The Utah GOP has fought the state over the law that created the signature-gathering path to the primary ballot and lost in U.S. district court but is appealing the ruling to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Pickett said he thinks the early signature system is flawed, and the parties should be the ones who pick their candidates, but the practical jokester in him couldn’t help sign up for the commission seat as a democrat.

The law would have only required him to gather 373 signatures from anyone registered to vote, be they republican, democrat or independent, to gain access to the primaries.

“Of course I am going to support the republican candidate,” Pickett said. “I just wanted to see if I could do it—and I could.”

Pickett even confirmed the laws with the county, the opposing Sanpete County Democratic Party and with the office of Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox.

He also gathered some signatures.

“I could go down to the Republican caucuses and everyone would sign for me,” he said. “How backwards is that?
He says that, on top of the strange law, which he thinks has serious potential to muddy election waters, legislators have made it against the rules for a party to change their bylaws during an election cycle, and so even if the Democratic Party wanted to tweak them and close the strange loophole, they couldn’t.

Despite his statement, Pickett said he believes, in local level politics, you should vote for the person you think is going to do the best job.

The Republican Party precinct-level caucuses took place on Tuesday, March 20 (look for complete coverage of the caucuses next week).

The party convention will be held on April 19 at Manti High School at 7 p.m.