Unaffiliated voters may need to join a political party to vote in 2020 primaries

Unaffiliated voters may need to join a

political party to vote in 2020 primaries


By Doug Lowe 

Staff writer



Virtually everyone in Utah knows that registered Republicans far outnumber registered Democrats. But few realize that the second largest block of voters—nearly as many as Republicans—are unaffiliated voters (not to be confused with “Independent” because that term can refer to registered members of the Independent Party).

Surprising as it may sound, there are nearly as many unaffiliated voters in Utah as there are registered Republicans. According to Utah Elections Director Justin Lee, the state has 509,374 active unaffiliated voters compared to 682,038 active Republicans, with another 190,655 voters being active registered Democrats.

In that sizable group of unaffiliated voters, those who want to vote in the upcoming presidential primary on “Super Tuesday” may need to take steps to ensure they receive the ballot for either the Republican or Democratic primary.

Back in December, Sanpete County Clerk Sandy Neill sent all unaffiliated voters a letter asking them to fill out, sign, and return a form indicating which of the two major party ballots they wished to receive in the mail.

Those checking the box to receive the Democratic Presidential Primary Ballot, had the option of checking an optional subsidiary box to indicate they desired to affiliate with the Democratic Party as a member.

A line below the box for the Republican Presidential Primary Ballot informs the recipient that checking that box would automatically affiliate them with the Republican Party.

Those who received the unaffiliated voter letter were asked to complete and return the signed form by Jan. 3 in order to ensure timely delivery of the requested ballot. However, Neill has told the Messenger there is still enough time for unaffiliated voters to return the signed form or come to her office in the court house to complete the form there.