ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) - Looking to regain a spot on Utah ballots, members of the Independent American Party are working on gathering 2,000 signatures from the state's residents in time to find a candidate to represent the party for the 2014 elections.
Started in 1998 in Utah, the Independent American Party gained support from tens of thousands of voters nationwide in its infancy but lost support and its footing on ballots after struggling to establish leadership, said Kelly Gneiting, the party's national chairman.
"There needs to be someone who is willing to step up and do the right thing," he said. "We consider ourselves stepping out."
The party has enough signatures to be on ballots in New Mexico, Oregon and Arizona, with Utah being the next possible state, Gneiting said.
"Our party doesn't compromise," he said. "We just want to get out there and tell the truth."
According to Utah State Election requirements, a petition must be signed by 2,000 registered voters in order for a new political party to be registered. The organization must have all the signatures collected prior to Feb. 15 of the year in which an election takes place, according to the state's election website.
The party's membership committee coordinator, Pro-Life, said he legally changed his name to Pro-Life in 2006 to show support for his beliefs as an unaffiliated political office seeker in Idaho. Pro-Life said he runs unaffiliated for the office of Idaho governor every four years and has run for state senate offices. However, he and the Independent American Party are looking to gain recognition nationwide.
Gneiting said the Independent American Party has fewer affiliated voters than when it started, but as the party gains recognition, he hopes the number of supporters continues to grow along with the number of candidates willing to run on the party's behalf.
"When we are on the ballot, there might be a small selection of politicians who can run," Gneiting said.
Pro-Life said the candidates must be carefully selected in order to accurately represent the meaning of the party.
"We don't want self-serving candidates," he said.
According to a recent Gallup Poll, a record-high 42 percent of Americans identify themselves as independents. Gneiting said he hopes these independent voters consider what the Independent American Party has to offer.
"We are trying to popularize our party," he said.
Members of the party are looking to gather support in Utah and will be in St. George on Feb. 8 for the party's third Independent American Summit. The event aims to get signatures in support of the party becoming registered.
The party has a link to a conservative Christian foundation, Gneiting said, adding that he hopes those who learn about the party understand the connection between politics and religion.
"We have to do things the Lord's way," he said. "Politics are right with religious freedom. It's not hate that drives us, but love."
Information from: The Spectrum, http://www.thespectrum.com