YOUR VOICE, YOUR VOTE

2020 Election: the 7 amendments to look for on your ballot

Oct 14, 2020, 12:47 PM | Updated: Oct 29, 2020, 3:49 pm
drop box video surveillance...
A man submits his ballot at a drop box at the Salt Lake County government building in Salt Lake City, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015. Chris Samuels, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — When you receive your ballot in the mail in Utah, starting as soon as this week, in addition to making a decision on who to vote for for president, governor, Congress and attorney general, you’ll also see seven proposed amendments to the Utah State Constitution. 

Amendments on the Utah ballot

The amendments also referred to as ballot measures, are modifications to the state Constitution proposed by the state legislature. They are written, often, to alter existing policy, language, and/or timeframes. After that, voters weigh in on the proposed amendments, deciding if the state should adopt the alteration to the Constitution. 

This year, Utah voters will see seven constitutional amendments outlined on the ballot, labeled A-G. Here they are:

Amendment A: Make the State Constitution’s language more gender-neutral

Shall the Utah Constitution be amended to change words that apply to a single-gender (such as the word “men”) to words that are not limited to a single-gender (such as the word “persons”)?

When constitutional amendments were first drafted, it was common to use single-gender words. This amendment would change all single-gender language written in the Utah Constitution to gender-neutral.  It would remove the words “he, his, and him” and replace it with a non-gendered pronoun like “person” or “the person.” 

If approved by voters, the language modification would take effect Jan. 1, 2021. Additionally, the ballot states Amendment A has no fiscal impact, costing the state nothing to establish. 

Read more about Amendment A here.

Amendment B: Establish qualification standards candidates must meet in order to run for the Utah Legislature 

Shall the Utah Constitution be amended to specify that certain requirements that a person must meet to be eligible for the office of senator or representative in the Utah Legislature apply at the time the person is elected or appointed?

This amendment would require all those running to be a representative or senator in the state of Utah to meet certain qualifications before taking office. Candidates may complete the qualifications at any point up until they take office. 

These qualifications include:

  • must be a citizen of the United States; 
  • reach at least 25 years of age;
  • reside in Utah at least three years; and 
  • must run for office in the district they reside in

It also states the lawmaker must give up their seat once they are no longer live in the district they represent. 

If approved by voters, the rule would take effect Jan. 1, 2021. 

Read more about Amendment B here.

Amendment C: Abolish the use of slavery and involuntary servitude allowed in Utah’s constitution  

Shall the Utah Constitution be amended to make the following changes to the Utah Constitution’s ban on slavery and involuntary servitude:

  • remove the language that allows slavery and involuntary servitude as punishment for a crime; and
  • clarify that the ban does not affect the otherwise lawful administration of the criminal justice system?

Currently, the Utah Constitution bans the use of slavery and involuntary labor except when someone has been convicted of a crime. This amendment would remove the exception allowing slavery and involuntary servitude as punishment for a crime.

Related Coverage: Plan to remove slavery from Utah Constitution passes House

The ballot states the measure would not alter the use of lawful work within Utah’s criminal justice system. This will not impact how a judge sentences a person or a convicted person’s ability to participate in prison/jail work programs. 

If approved by voters, it will take effect Jan. 1, 2021. There are no fiscal resources needed to implement the change. 

Read more about Amendment C here.

Amendment D: Specifying how state municipalities can use its water supply and/or resources 

Shall the Utah Constitution be amended to:

  • rewrite a provision relating to municipal water rights and sources of water supply;
  • allow a municipality to define the boundary of the municipality’s water service area and to set the terms of water service for that area; 
  • state that a municipality is not prevented from:
    • supplying water to water users outside the municipality’s boundary; or
    • entering into a contract to supply water outside the municipality’s water service area if the water is more than what is needed for the municipality’s water service area; and
  • modify the basis upon which a municipality is allowed to exchange water rights or sources of water supply?

The Utah Constitution states municipalities (cities and towns) cannot sell or dispose of their water rights or sources of water supply, such as wells, springs, or streams. Municipalities must use their water supply for their own residents. However, it doesn’t specify if one city can trade water supply and resources of equal value with another city.

This amendment would rewrite the provision of Utah’s Constitution dealing with a municipality’s water rights and sources of water supply. It would allow the municipality to draw its own supply border and set water terms for services in the area. 

Read more about Amendment D here.

Amendment E: Creates a constitutional right for Utahns to hunt and fish 

Shall the Utah Constitution be amended to: 

  • preserve the individual right to hunt and to fish, including the right to use traditional hunting and fishing methods subject to certain regulation; and
  • establish public hunting and fishing as the preferred way of managing and controlling wildlife?

This ballot measure would add a section to Utah’s Constitution to protect a resident’s right to hunt and fish, including traditional methods used for hunting and fishing. Additionally, the amendment prioritizes public hunting and fishing as the preferred way of controlling and managing wildlife. Amendment E would also establish hunting and fishing regulations.

The amendment would not impact property or trespassing rights nor would it affect Utah’s authority in land management and resources. 

If passed by voters, Amendment E would take effect Jan. 1, 2021. 

Read more about Amendment E here.  

Amendment F: Change the start date of the annual Utah Legislative session and exclude state holidays from counting as days spent in session 

Shall the Utah Constitution be amended to:

  • change when annual general sessions of the Utah Legislature begin from the fourth Monday in January to a day in January designated by a law passed by the Utah Legislature; and
  • exclude state holidays that are not also federal holidays from counting towards the maximum number of days of the Utah Legislature’s annual general sessions?

The Utah Consitution currently requires the start of the state’s annual legislative session to begin on the fourth Monday in January. The State Constitution also says the session can not exceed 45 calendar days, excluding federal holidays but not state holidays. 

Amendment F would change the start date of the Utah Legislature from the fourth day in January to a date voted on by lawmakers. Additionally, the ballot amendment would exclude state holidays from counting towards the 45-day session. 

Read more about Amendment F here.

Amendment G: Expand funding from income and intangible property taxes to be used for education to serve children and those with disabilities 

Shall the Utah Constitution be amended to expand the uses of money the state receives from income taxes and intangible property taxes to include supporting children and supporting people with a disability?

First, an intangible property tax refers to personal property such as stocks, bonds, patents and copyrights. Currently, in the Constitution, income tax paid or taxes from intangible property to the state must only be used to fund education. The state requires residents to pay income tax but a not intangible property tax. 

This ballot amendment would change the Constitution to allow the state to use money from income taxes or intangible property tax to fund children and those with disabilities. 

Related: Backers, opponents of Amendment G make their case ahead of the election

The amount of money the state decides to allocate to children and persons with disabilities will be based on a vote from the Utah Legislator. 

If approved, the amendment will take effect on Jan. 1, 2021. 

Read more about Amendment G here.

Voter information 

You must be a registered voter in Utah to vote on any of the amendments on the ballot. 

There is still time to register to vote if you haven’t! You can register to vote online until Oct. 23 at 5 pm. Visit here to register and to check your voter registration to make sure it’s up to date.  

Here’s where to look at the issues on the ballot impacting each county and district, including candidate information. 

 

Today’s Top Stories

Your Voice, Your Vote

ballot count amendments utah...
Lindsay Aerts

County clerks report more poll watchers, scrutiny ahead of Utah primary

Ahead of the 2022 Utah Primary election, clerks Salt Lake and Utah counties are reporting more poll watchers are serving as watchdogs.
20 days ago
Utahns could get a tax cut....
LINDSAY AERTS AND KIRA HOFFELMEYER

Utah Senate passes a tax cut for Utahns, Gov. Cox says he will sign it

The Utah Senate just unanimously passed a bill, giving Utahns a big tax cut. People in the state could see $193 million back in taxes.
5 months ago
utah poll unfavorable to president biden...
Mary Richards

New poll shows low favorability in Utah for President Biden

The Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll shows that 45% of Utah residents have a favorable opinion of President Joe Biden, while 3% aren’t sure.
1 year ago
Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., read the final certifica...
LISA MASCARO, ERIC TUCKER, MARY CLARE JALONICK and ANDREW TAYLOR Associated Press

Biden win confirmed after violent pro-Trump protestors storms US Capitol

Congress has confirmed Democrat Joe Biden as the presidential election winner, hours after violent protesters loyal to President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol.
2 years ago
president trump trial...
ZEKE MILLER and JILL COLVIN Associated Press

Trump says his term is ending, transition will be orderly

President Donald Trump says there will be an “orderly transition on January 20th” now that Congress has concluded the electoral vote count certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
2 years ago
(Some of the flags and signs outside the Utah State Capitol.  Credit: Paul Nelson)...
Paul Nelson

Hundreds participate in “Stop The Steal” rally at Utah State Capitol

Hundreds of President Trump’s supporters in Utah gather on the Capitol grounds to protest what they call the stealing of the presidential election. 
2 years ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
2020 Election: the 7 amendments to look for on your ballot