Phil Lyman is fighting to remain a candidate as the election deadline approaches

As the deadline for printing ballots approaches, the judge is quickly deciding whether Layne Bangerter meets Utah's residency requirements to run for lieutenant governor.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Phil Lyman and Layne Bangerter celebrate at the Utah Republican Nominating Convention on Saturday, April 27, 2024, in Salt Lake City. Lawyers for Lyman and Utah election officials want a judge to quickly rule on Lyman's election lawsuit because ballots had to be printed before the Utah primary.

Lawyers for the Utah elections office want a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Phil Lyman and his potential candidate for lieutenant governor, Layne Bangerter, arguing that a simple reading of the Utah Constitution shows that Bangerter is not eligible to run in the 2024 gubernatorial election Utah can run.

“State election officials … cannot be compelled to violate their oath and accept a declaration from a candidate they know is unqualified in violation of the Utah Constitution,” Assistant Attorney General Joseph Adams wrote in a filing Thursday morning .

Also on Thursday, 3rd District Judge Matthew Bates scheduled a hearing for Friday afternoon to rule on Lyman's request that the court stop printing ballots for the June primary until the court decides whether Bangerter should be named Lyman's vice presidential candidate is on the ballot.

Attorneys for both parties told Bates during Thursday's hearing that there was some urgency because the ballots needed to be sent to the printer by Friday, or possibly Monday at the latest, so that the state could mail them to out-of-state voters by May 10 Required by federal law.

The Utah Constitution states that individuals are ineligible to hold statewide office unless the person “is a qualified voter and has been a resident of the state for five years prior to the election.”

Lyman's attorney argues that this only means that Bangerter must have lived in the state for at least five years before the election. Bangerter lived in this state most of his life, but moved to Idaho in 1990 and did not return to Utah until 2021.

In 2012, a lawsuit was filed against then-Gov. Justice Thomas Lee wrote to a unanimous court: “To be eligible for the office of governor, our Constitution states that a person must be at least thirty years of age, a qualified voter, and a resident citizen of the state for at least five years.” previous years.”

Former Lt. Gov. Greg Bell – who is handling the matter because Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, who heads the state's election board, is up for re-election and would have had a conflict of interest in handling the matter – issued a statement Monday saying he decided that Bangerter was ineligible.

Still, Lyman's campaign has accused Henderson of “election interference” for opposing Bangerter's candidacy.

Anna Harden

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