Utahns for Ethical Government today announced that it has collected over 110,000 signatures to qualify for the 2012 election ballot. Announcing the results was UEG chairperson, Kim Burningham, who explained that UEG is confident that it has met the overall state goal of 94,552 qualified signatures as well as the proportionate number of signatures in 26 of the state’s 29 Senate districts. Noting the challenge of the effort, Burningham thanked dedicated supporters and stated that “we accomplished this, thanks to nonpartisan support from across the state, including support from former governor Olene Walker, current gubernatorial candidate Peter Corroon and running mate Sheryl Allen, former U.S. congressperson Chris Cannon, many former legislators, and multitudes of Utahns interested in higher ethical standards for the Utah Legislature.”
Dixie Huefner, UEG Communications Chair, observed that “because of the stringency of the initiative requirements, it is extraordinarily challenging for a grass-roots, nonprofessional group to gather the required signatures, and we are proud of our efforts.” David Irvine, UEG co-counsel stated UEG’s view that “the current initiative requirements unreasonably burden the right of the people to participate in the legislative process through an initiative. Thus, we are doubly proud of those who helped UEG surmount the signature-gathering challenges and barriers put up by the Legislature itself, the Attorney General’s office, and the Lieutenant Governor’s office.”
UEG submitted signatures gathered since April 15th to county clerks’ offices throughout the state yesterday and today. According to August 11 instructions from the Lieutenant Governor’s office to county clerks, the signatures are to be “processed and counted, but not certified” for placement on the 2012 ballot. Litigation is expected to follow.
“When well over 100,000 citizens have expressed their desire to have our initiative on the ballot, the public deserves an opportunity for fuller debate and a chance to vote on our initiative,” concluded Burningham. “The Legislature has a long ways to go to become a leader rather than a follower in terms of ethical standards in state legislatures across the country.”