UTAH LEGISLATURE

Utah Legislature approves candidate signature gathering change

Feb 16, 2024, 6:55 PM | Updated: Feb 20, 2024, 7:41 am

significant shift is coming for candidates who have to gather signatures to get on the ballot -- a ...

significant shift is coming for candidates who have to gather signatures to get on the ballot -- a state-approved app allowing them to verify a voter's eligibility in real-time. (KSL TV)

(KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY — A shift could be coming for candidates who have to gather signatures to get on the ballot — a state-approved app allowing them to verify a voter’s eligibility in real time.

Right now, signatures are largely gathered via paper packets and submitted to the Lt. Governor’s office, which checks the registration requirements of each signer. Only signatures that meet those requirements count towards a candidate’s total number.

On Friday, the Utah Legislature passed SB107, the Election Process Amendments. The bill’s main components move the filing deadline date for independent candidates from early January to June 15.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. files lawsuit against Utah for ‘unconstitutional early deadline’ practices

The bill also repeals a requirement that signature collectors had to be residents of Utah. By doing that, supporters of the signature path to the ballot say it allows an app developed by the Lt. Governor’s office to be more widely used.

State law allows candidates to choose whether they gather signatures manually or electronically. However, using the app is rare. Supporters of the signature path hope this bill changes that.

The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Jordan Teuscher, R-South Jordan, said that wasn’t the purpose of this bill.

How the app would work

The state elections office manages the app.

Since voters are only allowed to sign for one candidate in a race, the app scans your driver’s license to determine whether you are eligible to sign a petitioner’s packet. This would apply to candidates, initiatives, and referendums, each requiring signatures.

“(The app) uses state-issued IDs like your driver’s licenses or other official state-issued IDs, and it ties that into the voter registration database in real-time so that those collecting signatures, whether it’s candidates themselves or their volunteers, they can in real-time determine a voter’s eligibility to sign that petition,” said Taylor Morgan, executive director of Count My Vote.

Count My Vote is the group that ushered in the change to Utah’s laws around ballot access 10 years ago when they successfully negotiated the option for candidates to do the signature-gathering path, the caucus convention path, or both — known in political circles as the SB54 compromise.

Morgan argues the app will make the signature-gathering path more accessible.

“It’s something that has been in the works for a couple of years now, but the technology has not yet been available and ready for the public to secure the validity of those signatures,” he said.

Securing data

Of course, data privacy is always a concern. But Morgan said the app is tapping into data that the state already has on file.

“The data that’s being pulled is the state election voter database and also the Department of Motor Vehicles database. If you use, for example, your driver’s license. So this is already data and information that the state has that the state controls and protects very closely. And that’s one of the key features of this app, is that we’re using the very best protocols and safety measures that are currently in place to secure statewide data,” Morgan said.

Caucus convention path supports have historically been cautious of technology in election processes. Morgan argues the app makes the process of gathering signatures more secure.

“It ensures by using that ID issued by the state, it ensures that voters are who they say they are, and it helps the voters know, frankly, for whom they’re eligible to sign up statewide,” Morgan said.

He wants voters to know that they can trust this new process.

“We want voters to know that that’s coming to expect it and to know that showing your ID is part of the new secure process,” he said.

The bill also takes effect as soon as the governor signs it, so candidates, initiatives, and referendum gatherers can use it immediately.

However, for the candidates who’ve already started gathering for their 2024 campaigns, it’s too late for them to use the approved app since they’ve already selected that they’ll gather manually.


Editor’s note: A previous version of this article said that this bill allowed the app to be the state’s official method of electronic gathering. While the app would be the only state-approved electronic method for gathering, it has been updated to more accurately reflect that the bill’s residency provision allows for the app to be more widely used.

KSL 5 TV Live

Utah Legislature

Prosecutors filed felony charges in a Salt Lake City rape case from 2019, but later reduced them to...

Daniella Rivera

Could making this change help Utah improve sexual assault prosecutions?

Only a fraction of sexual assaults reported to police in Utah result in criminal charges for the perpetrator, but a legislative proposal could potentially change that.

8 days ago

Utah legislators, supporters of the new law, and Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson at a press conference to...

Daniel Woodruff

New Utah school safety law earns praise from victims’ families, but cost concerns persist

Family members who lost children in the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history came to Utah to celebrate a new law aimed at making schools safer.

14 days ago

Lehi homes...

Daniel Woodruff

Governor highlights bills to help Utah homebuyers, but will they make a difference?

Gov. Spencer Cox on Thursday highlighted several new bills he just signed into law that are aimed at getting more buyers into the market.

27 days ago

A new law is changing the amount of hunter orange that an individual is required to wear during spe...

Mark Jones

Several wildlife-related bills passed into law during 2024 legislative session

A number of wildlife management-related bills have been signed into law by Gov. Spencer Cox, following the completion of the 2024 Utah Legislature.

28 days ago

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sam Gill...

Daniel Woodruff

Salt Lake Co. DA reacts after governor signs controversial bill targeting his office  

Salt Lake County’s top prosecutor is reacting after the governor signed a controversial bill imposing new rules on his office.

1 month ago

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox signing bills and vetoing seven while in his office....

Bridger Beal-Cvetko, KSL.com

Gov. Spencer Cox vetoes 7 bills he thinks are unnecessary from recent legislative session

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox has vetoed several bills passed by lawmakers, after encouraging lawmakers to pass fewer bills in the future legislative sessions.

1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Utah Legislature approves candidate signature gathering change