KAYSVILLE -- The Davis County Clerk/Auditor's Office has disqualified signatures on three petition initiatives submitted to its office by Kaysville Citizens for Responsible Government.
The decision announced Monday was based on some of the signatures being inappropriately collected, as evidenced by some of the petition packets being unstapled and restapled.
"Based upon the foregoing analysis, it is my recommendation that any packets that show signs of having been separated should not be certified," Davis County Chief Deputy Attorney Bill McGuire said in a letter submitted to the clerk's office.
The decision by McGuire is consistent with instructions the county receives from the Lieutenant Governor's Office on the same matter relative to state petitions.
State instructions read "petitions that become separated are invalid."
There was also an instance of a person verifying signatures where no signatures were attached, officials said.
McGuire said, as a result, "any additional signatures verified by such individual should not be certified."
Based on "legitimate" disqualification of some of the signatures within the packet, there were not enough certified signatures to move the measures to a ballot vote, said Davis County Clerk/Auditor Steve Rawlings. Disqualified signatures included those that were duplicate signatures, signatures of a nonregistered voter and signatures from a voter who is registered outside the jurisdiction of Kaysville, county officials said.
"This isn't something we arbitrarily came up with. The precedent has already been set on this," said Davis County Election Coordinator Pat Beckstead.
"I stand by what we did," she said of the work her staff put into cross-referencing and cross-checking the signatures on the petitions. "We went above and beyond."
The disqualification of signatures on the petitions halts the efforts of the Kaysville citizens group, which wanted to place on the city's November ballot the three initiatives they say would make positive change to its city government.
Kaysville Citizens for Responsible Government co-founder Margaret Brough said her group does not believe the excuses the county offered for disqualifying some of the signatures.
The group is demanding a meeting with county officials and will be getting attorneys involved, she said.
"The whole thing is ludicrous."
On April 15, Kaysville Citizens for Responsible Government submitted to the county three initiatives, with each initiative needing 1,431 certified signatures to be listed on Kaysville city's November ballot.
* Initiative A sought to district five of the six council positions into geographic regions.
* Initiative B would establish a public service commission to restrict how revenue from the city's power company is used.
* Initiative C would have changed the city's form of government from a city manager to a strong mayor form.
Kaysville Mayor Steve Hiatt said that although he did not support the petition initiatives, he was a "bit surprised" the process was not followed by the group.
Hiatt said he welcomes the democratic process of the public being able to bring petitions before their government leaders.
"I support the process, so long as the process is followed," he said.
State law allows the clerk's office 30 days to review the signature packets.
But early on, county officials expressed concern that the number of signatures submitted with each petition gave the citizens group little leeway should a number of the signatures be invalid.
Before submitting the petitions to the county, Brough said she was confident the group would meet the required number of signatures, because it worked from a list of registered voters when circulating the petitions.