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Utah School Vouchers, Referendum 1 (2007)

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The Utah School Voucher Referendum, also known as "Referendum One," was a veto referendum which was on the November 6, 2007, general election ballot in Utah. In that election, Utah voters Vetoed HB 148, a school voucher bill that had been passed by the Utah legislature and signed by the governor on February 12, 2007.[1]

62% of voters vetoed the school voucher program.[2][3] The veto referendum failed in every county.[4]

There have been 11 state referenda on various voucher programs since 1972, all of them unsuccessful.[5]

See 2007 Ballot Measure Guide.

Election results

Utah Referendum 1 (2007)
Defeatedd No325,27962.14%
Yes 198,205 37.86%

Election Results via: The Utah Lieutenant Governor

Petition drive

Once the bill had been signed into law, opponents of the legislation had forty-five days to collect approximately 92,000 valid signatures, including signatures equaling 10% of registered voters in 20 of the 29 Utah counties.

The petition drive began on March 1, 2007 and ended on April 12, when voucher opponents turned in their signatures. When the signatures were scrutinized by elections officials, it was determined that 124,218 signatures were valid. Lt. Governor Gary Herbert declared the sufficiency of the signatures on April 30.[6]

Voucher opponents

The primary impetus for overturning the school voucher plan comes from the Utah Education Association and the National Education Association, which has chipped in $3 million to overturn the voucher plan.[7]

The name of the official group supporting the referendum (opposing school vouchers) is Utahans for Public Schools.

The slogan of the campaign against vouchers is "Flawed Law. Wrong for Utah Families."

Voucher proponents

The official group running the campaign to persuade Utah voters to keep the voucher law is "Parents for Choice in Education." Patrick Byrne was a major financial supporter of the campaign for school vouchers. After the measure was defeated, the outspoken Byrne said, "I'm ashamed of Utah voters that this could even be a close vote."[8]

Organizations such as the Heritage Foundation and Heartland Institute[9] have hailed the initiative passing, calling it "revolutionary."[10]


Both sides have complained that their opponents are receiving out-of-state money.[11] Over $2.6 million has been spent on the initiative from both sides.[12]

See also

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