In 2016, an unusual state could snatch the coveted first-primary spot away from New Hampshire if its legislature gets its way: Utah
The measure would require the lieutenant governor’s office to establish a “safe, secure and confidential” online voting system before any funding is approved for the primary.
But such a move would result in steep penalties against the state imposed by the national political parties.
The Republican National Committee enacted new rules aimed at tightening the GOP presidential primary calendar at their winter meeting this year after jockeying by states to increase their impact in 2012 led to a scrambling of the primary calendar and a drawn-out nominating process, which Republicans felt damaged their eventual nominee.
If Utah goes through with the change, its 40 GOP delegates to the national convention will be cut down to just nine.
Still, the sponsor of the bill, GOP state Rep. Jon Cox, said it might be worth it because of the increased influence Utah would have on the eventual outcome of the primary.
"We’ve created a system that is blatantly discriminatory. It creates second-class states," he said.
Despite the fact that Utah is much larger than New Hampshire and Iowa, the two first voting states in the primary, “Our influence is minimal, if at all," Cox added.