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Utah Republican Party responds after voters turned away from caucus in Summit County

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Posted at 9:51 PM, Mar 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-23 23:51:58-04

SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah -- The Summit County Republican Party is responding to criticism that it turned away some of it’s own party members on Caucus night.

“People that are coming… I’m sorry, but it’s closed,” Tal Adair, Chairman of the Summit County Republican Party, can be heard saying to a small group of people who were angry they were not allowed to vote.

The cell phone video was shot around 8 p.m. Tuesday. Many were told, by the county clerk, the caucuses were open from 7 until 9 p.m.

"The clerk does not make rules for the Republican Party,” Adair said on the video.

"I was going to exercise my right to vote,” said Susie Carroll, a 19-year-old home on spring break and participating in a caucus for the first time. She’s the one who shot the video.

In a statement, Adair wrote:

“The individuals came to the Summit County Caucus meeting after the meeting had already began and after we had officially closed credentialing. We recognize that some individuals may not understand party rules and how they may apply to the Caucus system. These individuals came to the Caucus meeting late, therefore missing the opportunity to be credentialed in order to cast a ballot. This situation is unfortunate and I am very sorry that these individuals were unable to be credentialed. As the Summit County Chairman, it is my duty to ensure that Caucus proceedings are carried out honestly and according to the rules of the Summit County Republican Party and the Utah Republican Party. I am saddened about the incident that occurred last night. As a result, we will review Caucus procedures and a process in which credentialing can be reopened once it has been closed.”

FOX 13 News did confirm that Adair did call the state party headquarters on Tuesday night to verify the rules. State Republican Party chair James Evans told FOX 13 News that Adair could not re-open credentialing without formally changing the rules, which would have been improper.

Evans went on to say he suspected some of the people trying to get in had tried at other caucus locations, possibly just to cause trouble.

Susie Carroll says that is flat-out wrong.

"Nobody understood is what I think was so unbelievable, and that's where I was like, 'It's unbelievable, I have to film this,'” she said.