SALT LAKE CITY — Four Utah ballot initiative campaigns said that they had submitted enough petition signatures by Monday’s 5 p.m. deadline to put their measures before voters this fall.
That includes Utah Decides Healthcare, which is seeking full Medicaid expansion despite state lawmakers passing their own version of expansion earlier this year, which would qualify fewer new enrollees.
The campaign had been relatively quiet about its progress, declining in recent months to speculate on how much support it was getting in various parts of the state. But organizers said Monday they had submitted more than 165,000 signatures, well above the 113,000 total required, with broad support across enough state senate districts to legally qualify the measure for the ballot.
“The public dialogue has shown Utahns support it. We were very fortunate to have had the public dialogue, going into it, the last five years,” said Utah Decides Healthcare campaign manager RyLee Curtis. “(It) helped us reach volunteers.”
DJ Schanz, director of the Utah Patients Coalition, which is in a high-profile push to pass an initiative legalizing the medical use of marijuana for patients who suffer from certain diseases or chronic pain, said the group ultimately collected almost 200,000 signatures and would easily meet thresholds across different parts of the state required be put on the ballot.
“Driving all over the state … the feeling we get when we talk to tens of thousands of people, that all have parents, friends, (or) family members that have illnesses and conditions that can benefit from cannabis, is that the support for this initiative very closely mirrors the (positive) polling,” Schanz told the Deseret News.
The other campaigns to declare they had enough signatures were Better Boundaries, which seeks an independent and bipartisan redistricting commission in an effort to address gerrymandering, and Count My Vote, which would reinforce the dual path to the primary ballot for candidates via either signature gathering or the caucus convention system.
“We have not had this number of initiatives come forward from the public in recent memory. So it’s impressive that several of these initiatives had so much public support, particularly since each one of them had to stand on its own,” said Jason Perry, director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah.
“There was a concern for several of these that if we had so many initiatives, some will just get lost. … But a couple of these initiatives …read more
Source:: Deseret News – Utah News