Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Breaking: Utah Supreme Court Rules in Favor of E-signatures

We're going to take a wild guess that Lt. Governor Bell and Attorney General Mark Shurtleff will soon be eating crow in the UEG Petition matter

The Deseret News delivers what's likely to be "hot off the press" good news for proponents of theUtahns for Ethical Government (UEG) Citizen's Initiative Petition, with the following story which reports that the Utah Supreme Court issued a decision this morning declaring "electronic signatures valid for candidate petitions":
Utah Supreme Court rules in favor of e-signatures
Although this morning's story refers only to "candidate petitions," it's likely that that this decision will also benefit the UEG group's ongoing citizens initiative petition signature gathering effort, inasmuch as the Court has apparently ruled that Utah Lt. Governor Bell "overstepped his bounds as the state's chief election officer," in rejecting Appellant Anderson's "so-called e-signatures" on the basis of Lt. Governor Bell's argument that "Utah's elections operate on a "paper-based system."

Inasmuch as that's the same basic argument Lt. Governor Bell has used in support of his rejection of the 10,000 or so already-submitted UEG ethics reform petitions, we're going to take a wild guess that Lt. Governor Bell and Attorney General Mark Shurtleff will soon be eating crow in the UEG Petition matter, that the Court's decision will be interpreted broadly to include citizens initiative petitions, and that the UEG group will soon be moving forward to bolster it's paper-based signature gathering effort with a renewed online effort to finally gather the requisite 95,000 signatures necessary to place robust ethics reform on the ballot for the 2012 election.

We'll definitely keep you posted on this as the situation develops, but for now we'll speculate that there'll soon be some fine dining in the Utah Government Executive Branch Offices up there on Capitol Hill:

Justice Served... Yum!

So what say our gentle readers about all this?

Update 6/22/10 4:26 p.m.: The Utah Supreme Court now has today's written decision posted to its website. Click the link below to read the raw legalese:
Anderson v. Lt. Gov. Bell
Although we haven't had the time to fully digest this opinion, after our admittedly superficial first reading, it's obvious that the Utah High Court relied fairly heavily in its decision upon the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, which broadly allows electronic signatures in most "transactions," except in those instances where the legislature has specifically banned such transactions.

Update 6/23/10 9:24 a.m.: The Standard-Examiner carries its own version of this story this morning, which includes encouraging excerpts from an interview with UEG lawyer David Irvine, who indicates that the UEG group will "put that Internet petition option back on [their] website as quickly as [they] logistically can.":
Group to revive online petition / Utahns for Ethical Government to seek signatures
Significantly, UEG lawyers are optimistic that the Utah High Court's decision is broad enough to support a renewed UEG online drive:
...the state's lawyers' arguments against Anderson's appeal "are the same arguments they have put forward against validating our online initiative signatures," Irvine said. "And the court very clearly found no merit in their reasoning."
When the UEG online petition feature is re-enabled, we assure you that our gentle readers will be the first to know.


Ray said...

Most excellent! Hope this finally puts the UEG petition on the ballet. It's nice to see the "ordained polticians" dance, kind of like Kevin Garn's DUI dance on video...shakey at best!

OneWhoKnows said...

Finally, the good guys win one! Now our crooked bastard leaders will be looking over their shoulders and all the while telling us they were in favor of it all along. They are nothing but whores. I'll certainly remember them in November.

Henry Higgins said...

Well, if appears that there may be one sane government group in the state.

Just think, this could lead to voting in elections from your home computer if you wish in the near future. We trust our most secret medical and financial data to the internet, but we so far have failed to use the internet for voting.

This would lead to a tremendous voter turnout for both parties in future elections and probably to a more balanced result.

Roxanne said...

Utahns would vote frequently and often using at least one vote for each pseudonym and email account.

Honesty and integrity does not exist in this State; and worse perhaps Nationwide.

At least in other States Costco can put out a spray bottle for use in cleaning tables and/or plastic forks, knives, and spoons without the local "large family" contingent stealing it.

Honesty is relative in this perverted culture.

DR. OPPOSITE said...

Your paranoia is showing, Roxanne.

Have you considered consulting a mental health professional about your right-wing socialist obsession?

Take a couple of oxycontin as usual tonight, and then call me in the morning, assuming you'll wake up.

Dumb Laura said...

I'll say right now that I'm fully opposed to any effort to limit our legislators from the free-spending corporatists and lobbyists.

blackrulon said...

I think you are being naive if you believe that Lt. Governor Bell or Atty. General Shurtleff will give a broad interperation of the judical ruling. The GOP power structure is opposed to any ethics regulations that they did not create. They will force UEG and redistricting petions to wait until 2012 for possible inclusion on the ballot. That will give them time to obstruct any changes that will restrict the power of the legislature to be more responsive to the people. These are the same people who have refused counting electronic signatures which caused the courts to hear the case.

on line voter said...

This could be the start of a smarter approach to elections and petitions. We should be able to vote on line if we choose, those that do not want to vote that way can use the old ballot box method if they wish. The same safeguards can be used that are used to protect our medical and financial information and it would save billiions is taxpayer money around Utah and the rest of the country.

I simple coded pin number could be issued for each qualified voter in a home. It seems that it would increase voter turnout and keep millions off the road on election night.

ozboy said...

I predict the so called "leaders" of the State legislature will enact a new law next session that will specifically prevent this new court ruling from applying to the petition process. Nothing scares them more than the hoi polloi being involved in any sort of law making. Like Blackrulon sayeth, this will prevent the ethics petition from getting on the ballot in 2012. But even if the ethics issue gets on the 2012 ballot and passes, the sleazy bastards will merely water it down in their next session after that.

Curmudgeon said...

Ozboy has it right.

The legislators passed the original law certain it would not apply in any way that did not serve their interests. Much as the legislator nabbed for DUI is outraged that the law his own legislature passed was actually applied to him. He's now trying to get out of the penalties for DUI. Just so, the legislators next session will probably exempt voting from the act, just as Oz predicts.


Gosh, this kind of makes one wonder what our obviously bright and principled Utah Supreme Court would have done with the Powder Mountain legal and constitutional issues. Alas, we'll never know. I think I know, and I think Pronaia Capital knew, too.

Also raises once again the question of whether, and if so when, Utah will get a real attorney general instead of the insipid jerk who pretends to be one, now. So long as Utah sheep keep electing dumbasses like Shurtleff, Utah will remain a national joke.

Oh, and by the way, the slime in the legislature won't just amend the Ethics Reform Initiative if the sheep get smart enough to pass it; they'll flat repeal it.


Hey, does anybody know whether Utah law allows attorney fees for Anderson and others similarly situated when they prevail on matters such as this and make good law in cases wherein the legislature is either too stupid, or too crooked, or both, to do so itself?

I sure hope so.

Let's hear it for the Supremes!

Peter Pan said...

I agree with IMA Believer, If the timid homeowners and the County Commissioners would have remained firm, the Utah Supreme Count probably would have held for the homeowners without giving the Valley away.

Snow Basin and their just announced development plans will bury any dinky ski resort development at Powder Mountain anyway.

guys with badges said...


Got this off of Hansen's face book page.
I wonder if Dee will ever tell us the truth about what he said.

Hansen is the MAN said...

It's good to see a man that fights for truth and justice... too bad there isn't more Neil Hansen's at the State Capital!

prosecutors are whimps said...

Does anybody really believe that Brad Dee didn't do that?

ozboy said...

I know both these guys (Hansen and Dee) and I can guarandamtee you that Hansen has the integrity thing in spades when compared to Dee. In fact I think Hansen has every one in the state legislature beat when it comes to honestly representing his constituents and not kissing up to the power brokers and other assorted jackals that run state & local government here in the land of Zion.

just axing said...

I'm wondering why somebody hasn't already dropped the Hatch Act dime on Brad Dee. He's the head of the Weber County Human Resorces Dept., and administers federal funds.

Seems to me that the federal office of Special Council needs to give Brad Dee's Conflicts of Interest a good long look

Bobby Zimmerman said...

The Times They Are a Changin

Hindman said...

Just axing - as I understand it if all conflict of interest legislators were eliminated from office we would have pretty much a new legislature. I'm all for it!

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