SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The movement for a statewide referendum regarding the new Utah State flag failed to get enough signatures by its deadline, meaning it will not be on the ballot before voters in November.
Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson denied the S.B. 31 State Flag Amendments Referendum on Thursday, April 13. According to Henderson’s office, supporters of the referendum needed just over 134,000 signatures in order for it to appear on the ballot for a vote. The movement reportedly received 21,030 validated signatures.
Henderson’s office said clerks rejected another 2,117 signatures and another 28,449 signatures had not been verified. In total, the referendum received 51,596 signatures, including those that were rejected.
The move to put the Utah State flag to a vote came after S.B. 31 passed Utah legislation. The bill, which passed in March, introduced the new flag and designated Utah’s traditional state flag as a “historical flag,” which would still be displayed on state properties and for ceremonial purposes.
Sponsors of the referendum said on their website that the effort is about more than a flag, but about “Utahns making the choices for Utah.”
“The bill that proposes to give Utah a new flag, was passed by the legislature with a simple majority, certainly not a mandate,” the website reads. “Decisions of this nature and magnitude that will affect Utah for generations should be decided by the voter. Our goal with this referendum is to give Utahns a voice.”
Referendum supporters had 40 days after the legislative session ended to gather the needed signatures. The deadline was set for the end of the business day on Wednesday, April 12. As the day passed without enough votes, Lt. Gov. Henderson declared the petition “insufficient” and denied the referendum.
Utah State Senator Dan McCay, S.B. 31’s sponsor, posted on Twitter saying he considers the procedural process of adopting the new flag complete.
“As we turn this page in our history, I’m aware there are passionate feelings on both sides of this issue,” said McCay. “With citizen input, and an assist from Governor [Spencer Cox], we will preserve Utah’s historic state flag and fix its place at Utah’s Capitol so that our history lives on.”