SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake County Mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Peter Corroon and his running mate, Rep. Sheryl Allen, R-Bountiful, say Utah Lt. Gov. Greg Bell should certify signatures gathered by an ethics group.

Utahns for Ethical Government, which is seeking to place an ethics initiative on the ballot in 2012, announced Thursday that it had gathered enough signatures to qualify.

But Bell's office says UEG missed its April 15 deadline to qualify for the 2010 ballot. UEG says it should have one year to collect signatures and is seeking a statewide ethics vote in 2012.

Both sides agree the issue will probably be left to a judge to sort out.

Corroon and Allen released a statement Friday saying Bell's office should uphold the desire of the people and that rejecting the signatures demonstrates a lack of leadership.

"We should be setting a high-water mark for ethics and giving citizens trust that their government works for them, and not special interests," Corroon said.

The elections office ought to assist citizens in their constitutional rights, Allen said.

"The intent to block the 100,000-plus signatures is a disservice to Utahns," she said.

Mark Thomas, Bell's office administrator, said Thursday that after the elections office consulted its attorneys and state law, the best decision the office could make was to deem the petition in April as insufficient and require that UEG start over with its petition drive to land on the 2012 ballot.

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