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Utah to hold first ever presidential primary poll online

Utah to hold first ever presidential primary poll online

(KUTV) Utah will make history during the upcoming presidential primary season with an online vote. State Republicans will hold the first ever caucus where registered voters can cast their ballot in person or online.

Utah's caucus day is set for March 22, a move putting Utah in the middle of the early voting, instead of the end where the primary was originally scheduled for June.

Utah Democrats and Republicans will hold what is being called a "presidential preference poll." Democrats will have to show up at their neighborhood caucus for that poll, Republicans will have options.

"We will be the first state that actually conducts a state-wide, online vote for the presidential preference."

James Evans, Utah's GOP Chair, is excited about the prospects of this new era of voting.

"If they are not able to attend their caucus, they can be on a beach in Hawaii and still cast their ballot" said Evans. While the state GOP loves the idea of a caucus, some say it pulls in only the far right of the party. Opening the caucus to an online vote will likely get more of the state's 600,000 registered voters involved.

Evans says there has been a lot of planning.

"We have contracted with the company that actually conduct elections around the world and in other countries they do actually cast their vote online."

An online national election is not yet a reality because of security concerns. Here in Utah, Evans says it is doable because the "GOP is a private organization conducting a presidential preference poll."

He's "satisfied with the security protocols" and how they "make sure the votes are properly recorded."

Republicans will have to register online if they want to take part. They will need to go to UtGOP.org starting Monday February 1st where they will need to provide "basic identifying information" and in return the GOP will "verify you in the system and issue you a personal identification number."

The presidential poll, or vote, will decide how Utah delegates vote in the convention this summer, a convention pundits expect will be hotly contested if a clear front runner does not emerge in early primaries.

"The results of those votes is what our delegates are bound to, whomever comes out with the majority will come out with the delegates from Utah."

If there is not a majority the delegates will be split proportionately.

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