Medical Marijuana, Direct Primary Voting Edging Closer To Ballot Status
Ballot initiative organizers in Utah have just a week left to collect signatures to try to get their proposals in next November’s election. Some of the proposed initiatives are close. Others have a long way to go.
Of the six ballot initiatives proposed, two are near the threshold for the required number of verified signatures needed. They are the Utah Medical Cannabis Act, to legalize medical marijuana and Count My Vote, a proposal to maintain the direct primary option to choose political candidates.
According to the Lt. Governor’s Office, organizers with the medical marijuana proposal have 134,500, about 20,000 more signatures than the 113,143 they need. However, they have to come from 26 of the 29 senate districts around the state and there are still several districts where they need more.
Organizers with Count My Vote have submitted 91,400 verified signatures. They need around 20,000 more to qualify.
Justin Lee is Utah’s Director of Elections. He said with just a week left things could still change.
"You know, you never know. There may be forty, fifty thousand signatures sitting in county clerk’s offices across the state waiting to be verified for any one of these. We just don’t really know quite yet," Lee said.
The other four initiatives have farther to go.
The Better Boundaries initiative would establish and independent redistricting commission. That proposal has 69,500 verified signatures. Utah Decides Healthcare would fully expand Medicaid in the state. It has 60,400 verified signatures. Our Schools Now sought to boost education funding but organizers reached a funding agreement on that during the legislative session.
No signatures have been submitted on behalf of Keep My Voice, which would move to a caucus-convention only system for elections.
The deadline to submit signatures is Monday April 16th.