LAYTON -- The Utah Lieutenant Governor's Office has determined a flier delivered last weekend to Layton homes by Citizens for Responsible Growth, a group opposing two land propositions on today's ballot, does not violate the state election code.
The group responsible for the flier violated no election code laws, Mark Thomas, state director of elections, said Monday, even though it is "unfortunate" the group did not list its name on the flier.
But Layton city officials could be looking at the legality of the flier as it relates to the state's criminal code.
"We knew our piece was legal from the beginning. We had it looked at by a number of people," said Tom Day, spokesman for Citizens for Responsible Growth.
Some of the statements put out by Layton officials labeling the piece as "fraudulent" and "disconcerting" are very similar to the tactics the city has used during the entire process, Day said.
"Maybe somebody should look into the way Layton city has been conducting what is supposed to be the citizens' affairs," he said.
Both the flier and the official city voter information pamphlet, mailed to city residents as required by law, contain information on Proposition Two and Proposition Three on today's ballot.
The propositions center around the approval and implementation of a zoning ordinance for a 107-acre, multiuse development in west Layton.
But even though election code violations have been ruled out, Layton city has yet to rule out criminal prosecution.
The city will not be able to do anything with the flier before the election, but it will be asking the Davis County Attorney's Office to look at the flier for any criminal violations, said City Attorney Gary Crane.
Thomas said someone did raise a concern that the group responsible for the flier could be in violation of Utah Criminal Code 76-8-511, which deals with falsification of a government record.
But Thomas concedes, "it's a little bit of a stretch" trying to prosecute the group under that provision of code.
"If it is applicable, it would be up to (Layton) city attorneys," he said.
If there were a criminal violation, Crane said, the county would likely handle the case because a city voter information pamphlet is at issue -- although, he said, there is nothing to prevent Layton city from prosecuting such a case in the event of a violation.
Crane said he is concerned the flier put out by the citizens group is deceptive and politically timed.
"It was obviously calculated to prevent any response from the city. When you publish it Friday and put it on doors Friday, Saturday and Sunday, you only have Monday left. It's tough to go out and combat the emotions and the outright misrepresentations that have occurred," he said.
The flier distributed by the citizens group would not have complied with state law, Crane said, "because it didn't contain anything from the other side."
Layton officials filed a complaint Friday with the state elections office over the flier "that has the appearance of the official voter information pamphlet" mailed out by the city with information on ballot Proposition Two and Proposition Three.
The flier distributed by the citizens group is the same size and uses the same type font as the official pamphlet with the word "UPDATED" in place of the city logo on the front page, said Assistant City Attorney Steve Garside.
"Our pamphlet is an expanded version of our position in the voter information pamphlet released by the City of Layton 'on our behalf,'" Day wrote in an email to the Standard-Examiner on Saturday.
"We believe that the citizens should see a more expanded explanation of our position on the propositions. It also appears we have more faith in the residents to read both pieces and make a determination for themselves."
Layton resident Valerie Clausen, a supporter of the propositions, said she received the flier at her doorstep over the weekend and found it confusing.
"I have never seen an updated voter information pamphlet before."