Ethics initiative battle heats up
As ethics-initiative backers scramble to gather enough signatures to place their measure on November's ballot, opponents hope to make it easier for some of those names to disappear.
In a statement last week, Utah's conservative Sutherland Institute labeled the measure put forward by Utahns for Ethical Government "dangerous" and asked lawmakers to streamline the name-removal process for folks who signed but changed their minds.
On Saturday's Red Meat Radio show on 630 AM, Sen. Howard Stephenson said he would file a bill today to do just that.
"Many have been complaining about the high threshold required to get their signatures removed," Stephenson said.
Current law requires petition signers to submit notarized statements to their county clerks to get their names removed.
Stephenson proposes skipping the notary. Instead, people could identify the petition they signed in error and send their names, signatures, driver license or state ID numbers and the last four digits of their Social Security numbers to their county clerk or the state elections office.
UEG volunteers have until April 15 to gather the necessary 95,000 valid voter signatures from 26 of the state's 29 Senate districts.
The Sutherland Institute, which posted an online analysis blasting the 21-page initiative, worries that many signed on without understanding the document's details.
Backers of UEG's initiative include the nonpartisan League of Women Voters, the Sierra Club, AARP Utah and the Utah Education Association.