Utah’s Right to Citizen Legislation: The Curious Case of Statutorily Defined Constitutional Rights

Although the furor over Count My Vote seems to have subsided (at least for now), the battle over Utah’s nominating systems has raised some fascinating issues, one of which has especially piqued my interest. Utah’s Constitution expressly guarantees the right of citizens to legislate via initiative and referendum, but “in the numbers, under the conditions, in the manner, and within the time provided by statute.”  Here’s the full text of the provision, found in Article VI of the Utah Constitution (emphasis added): (2) (a) (i) The legal voters of the State…

SB54 v. Count My Vote

Reform of Utah’s caucus-convention system is always a hot topic among Utah’s politicos, but 2014 has seen the normal controversy escalate beyond more than talk, as there are currently two proposals out there that would seriously alter  Utah’s political landscape. Right now, Utah’s election code allows parties exclusive control over the process they use for endorsing candidates on the ballots for a general election.  Both parties in Utah have opted to nominate and endorse candidates exclusively through a caucus-convention system that is uniform, even though it isn’t mandated anywhere in…