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Supreme Court Calls for Re-examination of Open Space Initiative

Supreme Court Calls for Re-examination of Open Space Initiative

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The Utah Supreme Court today ruled that two counties used incorrect criteria when discounting petition signatures that kept the Open Space initiative off the November ballot.

The proposal was rejected in Utah and Cache counties because both clerks checked the signatures against addresses listed for those names on voter lists.

The Supreme Court says the lack of an address match alone should NOT be grounds to reject the signatures when that same name appears on the voter list.

The high court says Utah and Cache counties should re-exmaine those signatures, and ordered both to resubmit the petitions to the state elections office for approval and placement on the ballot, if warranted.

To meet ballot and voter literature printing deadlines, Utah Elections Director Amy Naccarato said the deadline for the initiative to be included would be September third.

Utahns for Clean Water, Clean Air and Quality Growth is seeking a ten-year, 150 (M) million dollar bond for conservation projects. The Elections Office rejected the plan in early June, ruling that the petition failed to meet state standards.

The petition was signed by 133,000 Utah residents, almost double the state law requirement. But it didn't meet a threshold intended to ensure geographic diversity.

The petition was signed by at least 10 percent of registered voters in 24 of the state's 29 Senate districts -- two short of the number of districts demanded by state law.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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