The Count My Vote initiative failed to make November's ballot according to final numbers released by the Utah Elections Office on Tuesday afternoon.
The numbers show CMV failed to meet the 10% requirement in six Senate Districts after an effort by opponents to remove signatures. In all, CMV gathered 131,984 signatures statewide, but fell short after opponents removed 2,951 signatures.
"We've been preparing for legal action, and will pursue that," said CMV spokesperson Taylor Morgan. "We've seen some real troubling patterns with improper invalidation of signatures. There were a large number of signatures that should have been validated that weren't. This is far from the end. It's just the end of the beginning."
Count My Vote, which is favored by 2/3rds of Utahns according to the latest UtahPolicy.com survey, had initially crossed the signature threshold in three Senate districts that opponents were successful in dropping the initiative below the needed number:
- SD7 - Short 182 signatures
- SD21 - 179 signatures short
- SD29 - 211 signatures below the threshold
The CMV legal challenge merely needs to find approximately 600 valid signatures, spread across those three Senate districts, to qualify for the ballot.
The proposal to legalize medical marijuana in Utah hit the required 10% threshold in 27 Senate districts to win inclusion on the ballot. Opponents only managed to remove 1,425 signatures from the petition after a concerted effort to stop the initiative from making the ballot. There is a pending lawsuit to block the medical marijuana initiative on the grounds it is illegal under federal law.
We are excited, but not surprised, by the Lieutenant Governor's conclusion to certify the more than 150,000 signatures gathered and place the Utah Medical Cannabis Act on the November 2018 ballot. With the signature drive behind us, we can now focus on gaining support for this initiative, which would establish a responsible, conservative, and compassionate medical cannabis policy for our state," said organizers of the medical cannabis petition in an email release. "We look forward to a healthy and robust debate on this issue in the coming months."
The "Better Boundaries" initiative, which seeks to establish an independent redistricting commission, also crossed the finish line for ballot inclusion, hitting the required number of signatures in 26 Senate Districts.
Utah voters will also decide whether to take full Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act as the Utah Decides Healthcare Act also qualified for the ballot.