Kaysville group appeals petition decision

May 23 2011 - 11:20pm

KAYSVILLE -- Claiming a lack of due diligence by the Davis County Clerk/Auditor's Office, a Kaysville citizens group is appealing the disqualification of signatures on three proposed petitions.

County officials disputed the claim in a letter sent to leaders of the citizens group May 18.

"Davis County did their job thoroughly and fairly. The sponsors did not comply or follow the law, which is the real issue here," Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings told the Standard-Examiner on Monday.

Kaysville Citizens for Responsible Government representatives will meet with Kaysville City Recorder Linda Ross on Friday in hopes of moving their appeal forward, said Margaret Brough, co-founder of the citizens group.

"We will appeal as allowed by law," said Brough, who did not rule out taking the matter to the Utah Supreme Court.

"They did not do due diligence," Brough said of county clerks, who failed to certify many of the signatures collected on the petitions, leaving the group several hundred signatures short of what was needed to move the measures to the ballot.

The petitions, each needing the signatures of 1,431 registered voters, propose to: district the council seats, limit how city power company revenues are used and change Kaysville's city manager form of government to a strong mayor form.

County clerks validated 1,058 signatures on the petition calling for council district seats, 1,074 signatures on the petition limiting how city power revenues are to be spent and 949 signatures on the petition calling for a change in the form of government, Brough said.

The discrepancy in the number of signatures validated from petition to petition, Brough said, concerns her because her group presented to residents all three petitions at the same time.

"I don't think (county clerks) realize we took all three petitions at once to have them signed," she said.

Rawlings, in a May 18 letter to Brough and Richard Lenz, a member of the citizens group, said he concurred with what Chief Deputy Attorney Bill McGuire stated in an earlier letter to the clerk's office concerning what signature packets should and should not be certified.

"After reviewing the Utah Code sections that are relevant to this situation, I cannot opine otherwise without inviting potential mischief in future petition drives by indicating we don't require adherence to the law in Davis County," he stated.

Utah law puts the burden on the petition sponsors to "ensure" the initiative packets meet the "form" requirements of the law, including binding the documents together, Rawlings said.

One of the packets submitted to the clerk's office by the citizens group appeared to have been unstapled and restapled, which resulted in the signatures in it being disqualified.

Brough said the unstapling and restapling incident occurred because one of her grandchildren tore the packet apart. She said she did what she could to repair the torn packet by using tape and restapling it.

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