Utah

Overview

Utah Redistricting Process

Congressional and Legislative

Congressional and legislative maps are enacted by the State Legislature. The Governor can veto the plans.

The Legislature can override a veto with a two-thirds vote. Republicans currently have veto-proof majorities in both chambers.

There is a seven-member advisory commission, the Utah Independent Redistricting Commission, that has no weight of law. One Commissioner is appointed by the Governor. The President of the Utah Senate and the Speaker of the Utah House each appoint one Commissioner, and they jointly appoint one additional Commissioner. The Senate and House leadership of the political party that is the majority party of the Utah Senate appoints one member. The minority leaders of the largest minority party in the Utah Senate and Utah House each appoint one Commissioner. The Senate and House leadership of the largest minority political party in the Utah Senate appoints one member. The member appointed by the Governor is the chair. Appointments must be made no later than February 1 of the year immediately following a decennial year.

Commission members, in the two years prior to their appointment, cannot affiliate themselves with any political party, vote in a political party’s primary election, or be a political party delegate at a convention. Commissioners may also not be an individual who is affiliated with a partisan organization or cause, a determination that is made solely by the appointing authority. During the term of their appointment, a Commissioner may not: be a lobbyist; be a candidate for or holder of any elective office; be a candidate for or holder of any office of a political party, except for delegates to a political party’s convention; be an employee of, or paid consultant for, a political party, campaign, or political action committee affiliated with a political party or controlled by an elected official or candidate for elective office; serve in public office if the member is appointed to public office by the governor or the Legislature; be employed by the U.S. Congress or the Legislature; or hold any position that reports directly to an elected official or to any person appointed by the governor or Legislature to any other public office.

The Commission holds no less than seven regional public hearings in the areas specified in § 20A-20-301. Additionally, at least two hearings must be in either a first- or second-class county but not in the same county. These hearings must be held no later than August 1 of the year following the census. The public hearings must provide attendees with a reasonable opportunity to submit written and oral comments and to propose maps to the Commission. At least one, but no more than three redistricting plans for each type of district must be submitted to the Legislature no later than 20 days after the final public hearing. The Commission must also maintain a website where the public may access the Commission’s meetings, hearings, maps under consideration, and evaluations of maps, and submit maps and comments to the Commission.

Submitted maps must be approved by a five-vote supermajority, if possible. If the Commission is unable to reach a supermajority for a particular map type, then the Commission shall recommend one map that is approved by at least five Commissioners, if possible, and recommend two additional maps that are approved by a majority of Commissioners. Of these two additional maps, one must have been approved by the Commissioner appointed jointly by the Senate president and House speaker and the other must have been approved by the Commissioner appointed jointly by the minority leaders of the Senate and House. Three Commissioners may vote to require the Commission staff to evaluate any map drawn by, or presented to, the Commission as a possible map to determine whether the map complies with the redistricting standards adopted by the Commission.

Submissions from the Commission are made at least ten days prior to the Legislature voting on the redistricting plan and must be made in a public meeting of the appropriate Legislative Committee. The Legislature can choose not to accept the advisory commission’s recommended plan and instead create its own. The Legislature’s plan must be provided to the Commission and Chief Justice to ensure it follows Utah-specific standards.

Source: Utah Const. art. IX, § 1. Utah Code §§ 20A-20 (2019).


Ballot Measure Process

Kinds of Ballot Measures
Direct and indirect initiatives and referendums are permitted to amend statutes. Initiatives are not permitted to amend the state Constitution. Legislatively initiated ballot measures may amend both statutes and the Constitution.

Single-Subject Rule
There is a single-subject rule.

Initiative Subject Restrictions
There are no initiative subject restrictions.

Signature Requirements
Five preliminary signatures are required from sponsors who are residents of the state and have voted in a regular general election in Utah within the last three years.

The signature requirement for indirect initiative petitions is 4% of active voters in the state on January 1 immediately following the last regular general election, and from at least 26 Utah State Senate districts, 4% of active voters in that district on January 1 immediately following the last regular general election. The signature requirement for direct initiative petitions is 8% of active voters in the state on January 1 immediately following the last regular general election, and from at least 26 Utah State Senate districts, 8% of active voters in that district on January 1 immediately following the last regular general election. If indirect initiative petitions, should the Legislature not enact the petition, proponents must gather another 4% of the total number of active voters as of January 1 of the year following an election year. The signature requirement for referendums is 8% of the number of active voters in the state on January 1 immediately following the last regular general election, as well as from at least 15 counties, 8% of the number of active voters in that county on January 1 immediately following the last regular general election. 1,448,366 people were registered as active voters in Utah on January 1, 2019, so 57,934 signatures are required for indirect initiative petitions, 115,869 signatures are required for any direct initiatives, and 115,869 signatures are required for a veto referendum. District and county information can be found here.

Submission Deadlines
Initiative petitions must be submitted no later than the earlier of: 30 days after the day on which the first individual signs the initiative packet; 316 days after the day on which the application for the initiative petition is filed; or the February 15 immediately before the next regular general election immediately after the application is filed (February 18, 2020 due to non-business days and the holiday). Referendums must be submitted no later than the earlier of:14 days after the day on which the first individual signs the referendum packet; or 40 days after the end of the legislative session at which the law passed.

Circulation Period
There is no named circulation period for initiative petitions. However, if the petitioners fail to secure the required number of signatures to be placed on the ballot on the date of the election specified in the petition, they must submit a new application, obtain new signature sheets, and collect signatures again.

Ballot Title and Summary
A title for the proposed law is written by the proponents and a Ballot Title is written by the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel. Expedited reviews for Titles and Summaries are permitted.

Other Requirements
A fiscal impact statement is required. Circulators are required to be at least 18 years old and a resident of the state. Measures that makes changes to laws regarding the taking of wildlife or the season for or method of taking wildlife require two-thirds supermajorities to pass. The Legislature can amend a statutory initiative through a majority vote. The Legislature can make tactical corrections to an indirect statutory initiative. Laws passed by a two-thirds majority in both the Utah Senate and House cannot be subject to a referendum. Initiatives are permitted on general election ballots, but not on primary special election, or odd-year election ballots.

Source: Utah Const. art. VI, §§1, 22. Utah Code § 20A-7 (2019). Utah Lt. Governor Elections Website


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