Initiatives Appear To Qualify For The Ballot, But ‘Nothing Is Official’ Yet | KUER 90.1

Initiatives Appear To Qualify For The Ballot, But ‘Nothing Is Official’ Yet

May 10, 2018

Updates from the lieutenant governor’s office show that all four initiative groups trying to get on the ballot this November appear to have qualified. But nothing is set in stone yet.

Tuesday, May 15 is the deadline for county clerks to finish verifying all the signatures that were submitted by ballot initiative groups last month. It’s also the last day for anyone who signed a petition to request removal of his or her signature.

State elections workers will spend a couple weeks after the deadline double-checking signatures. By June 1, the lieutenant governor will officially certify what initiatives will be on the November ballot.

“We will see some number shuffling,” after May 15, said state elections director Justin Lee. “Anything that’s out there now is preliminary. Nothing is official until we’ve processed all of the removal forms.”

In the final days before the deadline, opposition groups are working overtime trying to stop some of the initiatives by asking voters to remove their signatures. Lee said the tactic – and the way some opposition groups target petition signers – is technically allowed.

“Anyone that signs a petition, that information is actually public information. So various groups have requested that through a public records (GRAMA) request, and are apparently putting that on some websites for people to look that up.”

Nothing in state code currently protects information added to an initiative petition, Lee said.

“While somebody could opt to have their voter registration information made private, there's not the exact same kind of thing in the law for petition signatures,” he said.

The four ballot initiatives want full Medicaid expansion, broader access to medical cannabis, an independent redistricting commission, and voter approval of Utah’s dual path election system. And unless there’s a dramatic reversal between May 15 and June 1, Utahns may get to vote on all four of those issues.