Utah establishes interim e-signature rule for initiatives & referendums

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July 9, 2010

Lt. Gov. Gregory Bell

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah: Lt. Gov. Greg Bell has issued an interim rule on electronic signatures for initiatives and referendums. According to reports and state documents the new rule will allow the collection of electronic signatures while still maintaining the rules for accountability and integrity of the process. The interim rule will remain valid and in effect for 120 days. For the first 30 days the lieutenant governor's office will take public comments and later determine if a public hearing is necessary. Following that period, state officials will work with the Utah Legislature to establish a permanent rule in the state code.[1]

Bell's decision to establish such a rule comes less than a month following a court ruling on Anderson v. Bell that allowed the acceptance of electronic signatures on candidate petitions. However, the ruling did not explicitly make a decision on initiative and referendum petitions.[2]

Utah Ethics Commission Initiative, initially proposed for the 2010 ballot, failed to collect sufficient signatures. However, the plan to propose the measure for the 2012 ballot and plan to file several electronic signatures. In light of the court's ruling in the e-signature case, supporters requested that Bell also acknowledge the e-signatures for initiatives. If Bell did not respond, supporters said they were prepared to take the case to court.

The language of the interim rule is available here.

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