Unconstitutional Ban on E-Signatures Prompts ACLU of Utah Lawsuit

ACLU of Utah Announces Intended Lawsuit On HB 477

Posted 3/21/11 – Representing certain sponsors of the referendum to repeal HB 477–the controversial bill that eviscerated Utah’s public records law–the ACLU of Utah today notified Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and Governor Gary Herbert that it will commence an action challenging the restrictions in SB 165 (which forbids the use of e-signatures to support referenda and initiatives) unless immediate assurances are given that HB 477 will be repealed as soon as possible.

“We believe the provisions in SB 165 that purport to establish a blanket ban on the collection and use of signatures gathered electronically in support of referenda and initiatives, including the HB 477 Referendum, violate the state and federal constitutions, as well as the long-standing decisional law of the Utah Supreme Court,” said ACLU of Utah Legal Director Darcy M. Goddard.  The letter, sent by the ACLU along with cooperating attorneys from Parr Brown Gee & Loveless and Manning Curtis Bradshaw & Bednar, demands:

“Absent assurances that the special session will be commenced to repeal HB 477 as soon as legally possible, prior to any further discussions or negotiations regarding the amendment of GRAMA, the ACLU of Utah will have no choice but to commence its action later this week.  Given that the Sponsors have only a few weeks in which to collect signatures in support of the HB 477 Referendum, we intend to petition the Utah Supreme Court for an Extraordinary Writ declaring portions of SB 165 unconstitutional and permitting the Sponsors to collect signatures electronically as well as on paper. “