Controversy and Constitutionality: An Analysis of the Convention System in Utah
AbstractThe current caucus-and-convention system used by political parties in Utah to nominate candidates for the primary and general elections has become quite controversial in recent years. Top political minds in the state have been taking divisive stances on the issue, which was brought to center stage with the recent election cycle in 2010. At the party nominating conventions in May, delegates used their narrowing power to unseat three-term Republican incumbent Senator Bob Bennett and force a primary election for four-term Democratic incumbent Congressman Jim Matheson against challenger Claudia Wright. The central focus of the debate targets the selection of state party delegates who are chosen to represent the rest of the voting population. Advocates of the current system maintain its republican, representative nature, while opponents argue the system as it stands violates the principle of equal protection as presented in the United States Constitution. This paper will present both arguments, as well as an in-depth analysis of the caucus and convention system in Utah, and formulate a conclusion on the constitutionality of the system. I will not specifically call for a complete end to the convention system in Utah, but I will argue for the need for immediate reform in the way delegates are allocated within the convention system.
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