First Substitute S.B. 136
7 LONG TITLE
8 General Description:
9 This bill amends provisions of the Election Code relating to elections on local
11 Highlighted Provisions:
12 This bill:
13 . defines the term "local tax law";
14 . modifies the deadline for delivering a signed and verified referendum packet in
15 relation to a local tax law;
16 . modifies dates for:
17 . the certification of referendum petition signatures by a county clerk; and
18 . evaluation of the sufficiency of a referendum petition by a local clerk;
19 . provides that an election on a referendum challenging a local tax law may be
20 conducted entirely by absentee ballot;
21 . describes requirements relating to an election described in the preceding paragraph;
23 . makes technical and conforming changes.
24 Money Appropriated in this Bill:
26 Other Special Clauses:
28 Utah Code Sections Affected:
30 20A-7-101 , as last amended by Laws of Utah 2012, Chapters 17 and 72
31 20A-7-606 , as last amended by Laws of Utah 2012, Chapter 72
32 20A-7-607 , as last amended by Laws of Utah 2011, Chapter 17
33 20A-7-609 , as last amended by Laws of Utah 2011, Chapter 17
35 20A-7-609.5 , Utah Code Annotated 1953
37 Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
38 Section 1. Section 20A-7-101 is amended to read:
39 20A-7-101. Definitions.
40 As used in this chapter:
41 (1) "Budget officer" means:
42 (a) (i) for a county of the first class, the person designated as budget officer in Section
43 17-19a-203 ; or
44 (ii) for a county not described in Subsection (1)(a)(i), a person designated as budget
45 officer in Section 17-19-19 ;
46 (b) for a city, the person designated as budget officer in Subsection 10-6-106 (5); or
47 (c) for a town, the town council.
48 (2) "Certified" means that the county clerk has acknowledged a signature as being the
49 signature of a registered voter.
50 (3) "Circulation" means the process of submitting an initiative or referendum petition
51 to legal voters for their signature.
52 (4) "Final fiscal impact statement" means a financial statement prepared after voters
53 approve an initiative that contains the information required by Subsection 20A-7-202.5 (2) or
54 20A-7-502.5 (2).
55 (5) "Initial fiscal impact estimate" means a financial statement prepared according to
56 the terms of Section 20A-7-202.5 or 20A-7-502.5 after the filing of an application for an
57 initiative petition.
58 (6) "Initiative" means a new law proposed for adoption by the public as provided in
59 this chapter.
60 (7) "Initiative packet" means a copy of the initiative petition, a copy of the proposed
61 law, and the signature sheets, all of which have been bound together as a unit.
62 (8) "Legal signatures" means the number of signatures of legal voters that:
63 (a) meet the numerical requirements of this chapter; and
64 (b) have been certified and verified as provided in this chapter.
65 (9) "Legal voter" means a person who:
66 (a) is registered to vote; or
67 (b) becomes registered to vote before the county clerk certifies the signatures on an
68 initiative or referendum petition.
69 (10) "Local attorney" means the county attorney, city attorney, or town attorney in
70 whose jurisdiction a local initiative or referendum petition is circulated.
71 (11) "Local clerk" means the county clerk, city recorder, or town clerk in whose
72 jurisdiction a local initiative or referendum petition is circulated.
73 (12) (a) "Local law" includes an ordinance, resolution, master plan, and any
74 comprehensive zoning regulation adopted by ordinance or resolution.
75 (b) "Local law" does not include an individual property zoning decision.
76 (13) "Local legislative body" means the legislative body of a county, city, or town.
77 (14) "Local obligation law" means a local law passed by the local legislative body
78 regarding a bond that was approved by a majority of qualified voters in an election.
79 (15) "Local tax law" means a local law, passed by a political subdivision with an
80 annual or biannual calendar fiscal year, that increases a tax or imposes a new tax.
84 by a local legislative body is submitted or referred to the voters for their approval or rejection.
86 the law being submitted or referred to the voters for their approval or rejection, and the
87 signature sheets, all of which have been bound together as a unit.
89 (b) "Signature" does not mean an electronic signature.
91 used to collect signatures in support of an initiative or referendum.
93 and who sign the application for petition copies.
95 or referendum petition have been certified and verified as required by this chapter.
97 required in Sections 20A-7-205 and 20A-7-305 .
98 Section 2. Section 20A-7-606 is amended to read:
99 20A-7-606. Submitting the referendum petition -- Certification of signatures by
100 the county clerks -- Transfer to local clerk.
101 (1) (a) The sponsors shall deliver each signed and verified referendum packet to the
102 county clerk of the county in which the packet was circulated[
103 day on which the local law is passed.
110 (b) A sponsor may not submit a referendum packet after the deadline established in this
111 Subsection (1).
112 (2) (a) No later than [
113 a county clerk receives a referendum packet under Subsection (1)(a), the county clerk shall:
114 (i) check the names of all persons completing the verification on the last page of each
115 referendum packet to determine whether those persons are Utah residents and are at least 18
116 years old; and
117 (ii) submit the name of each of those persons who is not a Utah resident or who is not
118 at least 18 years old to the attorney general and county attorney.
119 (b) The county clerk may not certify a signature under Subsection (3) on a referendum
120 packet that is not verified in accordance with Section 20A-7-605 .
121 (3) No later than [
122 receives a referendum packet under Subsection (1)(a), the county clerk shall:
123 (a) determine whether each signer is a registered voter according to the requirements of
124 Section 20A-7-606.3 ;
125 (b) certify on the referendum petition whether each name is that of a registered voter;
127 (c) deliver all of the verified referendum packets to the local clerk.
128 Section 3. Section 20A-7-607 is amended to read:
129 20A-7-607. Evaluation by the local clerk.
130 (1) When each referendum packet is received from a county clerk, the local clerk shall
131 check off from the local clerk's record the number of each referendum packet filed.
132 (2) [
133 the day on which the local clerk receives each referendum packet from a county clerk, the local
134 clerk shall:
135 (a) count the number of the names certified by the county clerks that appear on each
136 verified signature sheet[
137 (b) [
138 or exceeds the number of names required by Section 20A-7-601 and the requirements of this
139 part are met, [
140 (c) [
141 not equal or exceed the number of names required by Section 20A-7-601 or a requirement of
142 this part is not met, [
144 (d) [
145 clerk's finding.
146 (3) If the local clerk finds the total number of certified signatures from each verified
147 signature sheet to be insufficient, any sponsor may file a written demand with the local clerk
148 for a recount of the signatures appearing on the referendum petition in the presence of any
150 (4) (a) If the local clerk refuses to accept and file any referendum petition, any voter
151 may apply to the Supreme Court for an extraordinary writ to compel the local clerk to do so
152 within 10 days after the refusal.
153 (b) If the Supreme Court determines that the referendum petition is legally sufficient,
154 the local clerk shall file it, with a verified copy of the judgment attached to it, as of the date on
155 which it was originally offered for filing in the local clerk's office.
156 (c) If the Supreme Court determines that any petition filed is not legally sufficient, the
157 Supreme Court may enjoin the local clerk and all other officers from:
158 (i) certifying or printing the ballot title and numbers of that measure on the official
159 ballot for the next election[
160 (ii) as it relates to a local tax law that is conducted entirely by absentee ballot,
161 certifying, printing, or mailing the ballot title and numbers of that measure under Section
162 20A-7-609.5 .
163 (5) A petition determined to be sufficient in accordance with this section is qualified
164 for the ballot.
165 Section 4. Section 20A-7-609 is amended to read:
166 20A-7-609. Form of ballot -- Manner of voting.
167 (1) The local clerk shall ensure that the number and ballot title are presented upon the
168 official ballot with, immediately adjacent to them, the words "For" and "Against," each word
169 presented with an adjacent square in which the elector may indicate the elector's vote.
170 (2) (a) Except as provided in Subsection (2)(c)(i) [
171 and unless the county legislative body calls a special election, the county clerk shall ensure that
172 county referenda that have qualified for the ballot appear on the next regular general election
174 (b) Except as provided in Subsection (2)[
175 the municipal legislative body calls a special election, the municipal recorder or clerk shall
176 ensure that municipal referenda that have qualified for the ballot appear on the next regular
177 municipal election ballot.
186 January 30 of the year in which there is a regular general election, the county clerk shall ensure
187 that a county referendum that has qualified for the ballot appears on the ballot at the second
188 regular general election immediately following the passage of the local law unless the county
189 legislative body calls a special election.
190 (ii) [
191 30 of the year in which there is a municipal general election, the municipal recorder or clerk
192 shall ensure that a municipal referendum that has qualified for the ballot appears on the ballot
193 at the second municipal general election immediately following the passage of the local law
194 unless the municipal legislative body calls a special election.
195 (3) (a) (i) A voter desiring to vote in favor of the law that is the subject of the
196 referendum shall mark the square adjacent to the word "For."
197 (ii) The law that is the subject of the referendum is effective if a majority of voters
198 mark "For."
199 (b) (i) A voter desiring to vote against the law that is the subject of the referendum
200 petition shall mark the square following the word "Against."
201 (ii) The law that is the subject of the referendum is not effective if a majority of voters
202 mark "Against."
203 Section 5. Section 20A-7-609.5 is enacted to read:
204 20A-7-609.5. Election on referendum challenging local tax law conducted entirely
205 by absentee ballot.
206 (1) An election officer may administer an election on a referendum challenging a local
207 tax law entirely by absentee ballot.
208 (2) For purposes of an election conducted under this section, the election officer shall:
209 (a) designate as the election day the day that is 30 days after the day on which the
210 election officer complies with Subsection (2)(b); and
211 (b) within 30 days after the day on which the referendum described in Subsection (1)
212 qualifies for the ballot, mail to each registered voter within the voting precincts to which the
213 local tax law applies:
214 (i) an absentee ballot;
215 (ii) a statement that there will be no polling place in the voting precinct for the
217 (iii) a statement specifying the election day described in Subsection (2)(a);
218 (iv) a business reply mail envelope;
219 (v) instructions for returning the ballot that include an express notice about any
220 relevant deadlines that the voter must meet in order for the voter's vote to be counted; and
221 (vi) a warning, on a separate page of colored paper in boldface print, indicating that if
222 the voter fails to follow the instructions included with the absentee ballot, the voter will be
223 unable to vote in that election because there will be no polling place in the voting precinct on
224 the day of the election.
225 (3) A voter who votes by absentee ballot under this section is not required to apply for
226 an absentee ballot as required by this part.
227 (4) An election officer who administers an election under this section shall:
228 (a) (i) obtain, in person, the signatures of each voter within that voting precinct before
229 the election; or
230 (ii) obtain the signature of each voter within the voting precinct from the county clerk;
232 (b) maintain the signatures on file in the election officer's office.
233 (5) (a) Upon receiving the returned absentee ballots under this section, the election
234 officer shall compare the signature on each absentee ballot with the voter's signature that is
235 maintained on file and verify that the signatures are the same.
236 (b) If the election officer questions the authenticity of the signature on the absentee
237 ballot, the election officer shall immediately contact the voter to verify the signature.
238 (c) If the election officer determines that the signature on the absentee ballot does not
239 match the voter's signature that is maintained on file, the election officer shall:
240 (i) unless the absentee ballot application deadline described in Section 20A-3-304 has
241 passed, immediately send another absentee ballot and other voting materials as required by this
242 section to the voter; and
243 (ii) disqualify the initial absentee ballot.
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