The Silver Scribe

Overview of Ballot Initiatives

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Utah State Capitol

Utah State Capitol

Utah State Capitol

Brett Bolander, Features/News Section Editor

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A number of ballot initiatives are currently collecting signatures to appear on the ballot in November, including a measure that would legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, a measure that would institute an independent redistricting commission, as well as a measure that would require that political party nominees win a direct primary in order to appear on the ballot with party affiliation.

 

According to the Lieutenant Governor’s website, “A statewide initiative is a publicly sponsored piece of legislation that can be submitted to a vote of the people at a general election or to a vote in the legislature.”

 

In order to get on the ballot, initiatives need to go through a number of steps.  

 

First, a copy of the proposed legislation must be approved by the Lieutenant Governor to prevent nonsensical or ineffective measures from going any further.

 

Then, signatures must be gathered in support of the initiative.  The number of signatures required is equivalent to 10% of all votes cast in Utah for U.S. presidential candidates in the last election, which is 113,143 people for the 2016 election.

 

The initiative with the most support is the medical marijuana initiative, which Fox 13 says has 151,181 signatures.  A Dan Jones poll from early 2018 also found that 76 percent of Utah voters support the legalization of medical marijuana.

 

Shaylee Lawrence expressed her support for the initiative, “[Medical marijuana] literally works in so many cases.”  

 

Her friend, Sammi Redd, also supports the initiative and see concerns about medical legalization leading to recreational legalization as silly, saying it won’t happen “if they control it well enough.”

 

Other initiatives lag behind the medical marijuana initiative, but still have considerable support.

 

The Better Boundaries initiative advocates for creating an independent redistricting commission to curb the effects of gerrymandering.  According to the same Fox 13 article, the initiative currently has 72,864 signatures.

 

The Count My Vote initiative comes in third on signature count, with 66,287 signatures submitted.  The initiative would require political party nominees to go through a primary election in order to appear on the ballot with party affiliation.

 

Currently, candidates can get on the ballot by simply winning 60% of the vote at county or state convention.

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Overview of Ballot Initiatives