Utah Initiatives

To view results of Utah Initiatives and Referenda since 1960, click here.

 

For a list of initiatives and referenda currently in process, click here

Circulating an Initiative Petition

An 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 of the legislature.

To place an initiative on the general election ballot or before the legislature, sponsors must complete the following procedures:

1. File an application with the Lt. Governor.

Application forms may be obtained in the Lt. Governor's Office or on-line. The application may be filed in person in the Lt. Governor's Office or by mail. In addition to the application, the sponsors must include a statement indicating whether or not persons gathering signatures for the petition may be paid for doing so.

The Lt. Governor then accepts or rejects the application. The Lt. Governor will reject the application if the law proposed by the initiative is patently unconstitutional, nonsensical, if it could not become law if passed, if the law contains more than one subject, the subject of the law is not clearly expressed in the laws title or if the law proposed by the initiative is identical or substantially similar to an initiative submitted to the county clerks and Lt. Governor for evaluation and certification within two years prior to the date of application.

If the Lt. Governor accepts the application, the application will be forwarded to the Governor's Office of Management and Budget (GOMB). GOMB will prepare an unbiased, good faith estimate of the fiscal impact of the law proposed by the initiative.

2. Hold public hearings throughout the state prior to circulating an initiative.

After GOMB has completed the fiscal impact estimate, the sponsors must hold seven public hearings throughout the state prior to circulating an initiative petition for signatures. Public hearings must be held as follows:

  • One in the Bear River region - Box Elder, Cache or Rich County
  • One in the Southwest region - Beaver, Garfield, Iron, Kane or Washington County
  • One in the Mountain region - Summit, Utah or Wasatch County
  • One in the Central region - Juab, Millard, Piute, Sanpete, Sevier or Wayne County
  • One in the Southeast region - Carbon, Emery, Grand or San Juan County
  • One in the Uintah Basin region - Daggett, Duchesne or Uintah County
  • One in the Wasatch Front region - Davis, Morgan, Salt Lake, Tooele or Weber County

Of the seven meetings, at least two must be held in a first or second class county, but not in the same county.

At least three calendar days prior to a public hearing the sponsors must notify, in writing, the following individuals: the Lt. Governor, each State Senator, State Representative, and County Commissioner or County Council member in the county in which the hearing will be held. Sponsors must also publish a written notice of the hearing, detailing the time, date and location of the hearing in at least one newspaper of general circulation in the region in which the hearing will be held. Sponsors are responsible for either generating audio or video tapes of the hearing and providing those tapes to the Lt. Governor, or taking detailed minutes of the meeting to be provided to the Lieutenant Governor's Office. The Lt. Governor will make copies of tapes or minutes available to the public.

3. Print copies of the petition and signature sheet and bring them to the Lt. Governor's Office for numbering. If the application is approved, the Lt. Governor will prepare one copy of the initiative petition and signature sheet for the sponsors. The sponsors then print copies of the initiative packet and return them to the Lt. Governor's Office for numbering.

When printing the packets, the sponsors should follow these guidelines:

  • Petitions must be circulated with the front sheet(s), which includes the petition wording and the Lt. Governor's certification.
  • Securely bind signature sheets to the front petition sheet. Binding means securing together with a staple or stich in at least three places across the top of the paper.
  • Petitions that become separated are invalid.
  • No more than 50 signatures sheets can be included in one petition packet.

The Lt. Governor's Office has five days to number the packets. Petition packets may be numbered at any time during the circulation process.

4. Gather the required number of signatures.

There are two requirements in order to place an initiative on the ballot. First, the sponsors must collect the signatures of registered Utah voters equal to 10% of all votes cast in Utah for US President in the last general election in which the US President was elected (20A-7-201). Second, the sponsors must collect the signatures of registered Utah voters from each of at least 26 of the 29 state senate districts equal to 10% of votes cast for US President in that district (20A-7-201). To see the signature requirements for initiatives, click here.

To submit an initiative to the legislature, sponsors must collect signatures equal to 5% of the votes cast in Utah for US President in the last general election in which the US President was elected. When submitting an initiative to the legislature, sponsors must gather a number of signatures equal to 5% of the votes cast in Utah for US President in the last general election in which the US President was elected in at least 26 of the 29 Utah State Senate districts.

An electronic signature may not be used to sign a petition and a petition circulator/gatherer cannot verify their own signature.

5. Submit completed petitions to the county clerks for verification of signatures (Utah Code 20A-7-206).

The county clerk will check each of the signatures to ensure that they are registered voters. The petitions must be submitted to the county clerk within 316 days from the day the initiative was filed with the Lt. Governor or April 15 of the regular general election year (whichever is soonest) to appear on the upcoming general election ballot or by November 15 to be submitted to the legislature at the next general session.

It is suggested that sponsors collect more signatures than the number required as some who sign the petitions are not registered voters.

If you wish to have your signature removed from a petition, fill out and deliver the Signature Removal Form to your county clerk by May 15th.