Why an Initiative for Term Limits?

We believe that political change depends on reforming the nature of the game. That is why we are very excited to launch our citizen ballot initiative for 2020: Unite for Term Limits.  We think it is long overdue that some sort of limit be placed on Utah elected officials to discourage them from becoming career politicians.

So why do we need a citizen’s ballot initiative on term limits? Simply put, there is no other conceivable way that this would come about. Despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of voters support the idea of term limits, elected officials don’t tend to feel the same way.

In this initiative, Utah voters will have the chance to create a reasonable term limit that still allows elected officials to serve long enough to make a difference, but at the same time, not stay so long they become entrenched, career politicians. Additionally, this initiative will not impose a lifetime ban on legislators once they hit the limit. That means that a former legislator can come back and run for office again after taking a “time-out” period of at least a term.

So twelve years in consecutive terms is what we’re looking at for the state legislature. For statewide executive elected officials – meaning the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, state treasurer, and state auditor – we are proposing no more than two four-year terms, or eight years in office. Again, this will only apply to consecutive terms.

By voting for term limits, we will be joining many other states that have found term limits to be a key component for ensuring more effective government and limiting corruption. Fifteen states have already set term limits on their legislators, including Arizona, California, Montana, and Nevada. Thirty-six other states have term limits of some type on the governor, including many of our neighbors such as Wyoming, Montana, Arizona, and Nevada.

Of the fifteen states that currently have legislative term limits, it is important to note that fourteen of them were passed by citizen ballot initiatives, all of which were conducted between 1990 and 2000. Bringing about term limits via citizen ballot initiative is, unfortunately, by far the most common and effective way to put this important check on our state government.

If you’re ready to see term limits in Utah, please help us spread the word by liking us on social media and sharing our posts. We also appreciate anyone who can volunteer and/or donate. Together, we can bring positive change to our great state.

A Brief History of Term Limits

The idea of term limits is not new by any means. Thomas Jefferson worked very hard, though he was ultimately unsuccessful, to include term limits in the United States Constitution. He argued that term limits were critical “to prevent every danger which might arise to American freedom by continuing in office too long.” With others, Jefferson also argued that “nothing is so essential to the preservation of [our] government as periodic rotation [in office].”

We agree with Thomas Jefferson, and believe his arguments are just as valid today as they were around 250 years ago. We hope that we can help at least do for Utah’s government what he was unable to make happen in our federal government.

While some politicians may give the idea of term limits some lip-service, once elected to office, our public officials have shown time and again that they tend to want to hold on to power as long as they can. Of course, there are always some notable exceptions. But at the end of the day, history has shown that our state legislators by and large will not limit their own terms for the greater good of our political system.


In fact, as some of you may remember, back in the mid-1990s, work was being done to put together a citizen’s ballot initiative on term limits for Utah. In an effort to preempt having the people vote on the matter, the state legislature passed a term limits bill with a several-years delay before it would go into effect. Once people were no longer focused on the issue, in 2003 the state legislature repealed the bill, erasing term limits for Utah.

We don’t want that to happen again. We need a citizens’ term limit initiative to help ensure that our legislators know that term limits truly reflect the will of the people. That way, our legislature will be less likely to turn around and strike down this law once it gets on the ballot and passes, which we would expect it to do with overwhelming support.

If you’re ready to see term limits in Utah, please help us spread the word by liking us on social media and sharing our posts. We also appreciate anyone who can volunteer and/or donate. Together, we can bring positive change to our great state.