Local Government
4:06 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Attorney Says Move to Amend Ballot Follows Rules

Salt Lake City’s Attorney says it’s perfectly legal for an individual or a group that’s behind a citizen initiative to submit both the, for and against statements in the voter information packet that comes with a ballot. On Monday, it was revealed that an active member of the anti-corporate personhood group Move to Amend is the face behind the statement “against” a local opinion question the group posed to Salt Lake City voters this month through a mail-in ballot.

The ballot asks voters to disclose whether they’re for or against an amendment to the U.S. constitution that says corporations are not people and money is not free speech. It also includes an argument in favor of the question written by the Move to Amend organization and an argument opposed to the question, written by Thomas Huckin. Salt Lake City Attorney Margaret Plane says the fact that Huckin is also with Move to Amend, doesn’t violate any ordinance or law.

“There is no requirement that the argument be the strongest or the best possible argument,” Plane says. “That’s for really good reason. That’s because the government can’t be and shouldn’t be in the position of vetting the strength of an opposition statements argument.”

The opinion question is the first of its kind in Salt Lake City. Move to Amend gathered enough signatures to get the question on the 2012 general election ballot but was turned down when they learned state law prohibits initiatives from going on the general election ballot when they don’t result in law change. In response, the Salt Lake City council created a separate election specifically for opinion questions.