Robocall sparks debate between rival ballot measures

May 4, 2018, 3:04 PM | Updated: Aug 4, 2022, 8:35 am
signature gathering...
Some gubernatorial candidates think the signature gathering system should change amid the coronavirus outbreak. So far, Governor Gary Herbert disagrees. (Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News)
(Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — A failed ballot initiative to preserve Utah’s caucus and convention system for nominating candidates is attacking a rival measure in a new robocall.

Hundreds of Utahns report getting a robocall against Count My Vote, the possible November ballot initiative that would enforce a candidate’s ability to collect signatures to get onto a primary ballot. Utah Policy released audio of the robocall.

Brandon Beckham says his group, Keep My Voice, is behind the call. Beckham says the Count My Vote ballot measure seeks to do away with the state’s caucus and convention system.

“The current Count My Vote petition aims to dissolve, dismantle, weaken the caucus system so it’s meaningless. We don’t think that’s good for the state of Utah,” he said, “so we’re asking people, ‘Did you understand what this initiative did?’ A lot of people don’t understand.”

The robocall encourages people to remove their names from the Count My Vote ballot petition, alleging fraud.

But Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox encourages voters to be wary of misinformation.

“We’ve had complaints of … people knocking on doors saying, ‘… There’s this fraudulent activity happening. We’ve been authorized by the lieutenant governor’s office to come and do this,’ which isn’t true at all. We haven’t authorized anyone to go out and do this. The law does allow for people to remove their signatures. That’s very clear, and they can do that until May 15,” Cox said.

Keep My Voice, which sought to prevent candidates from getting on primary ballots by gathering voter signatures, failed to raise the required number of signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

The robocall tells Utahns their signatures may have been forged for the proposed Count My Vote ballot initiative, which guarantees candidates can gather signatures to get onto primary ballots.

Cox noted there has been a pair of cases of fraudulent signature-gathering, but he told KSL Newsradio’s Doug Wright that the robocall mischaracterized those investigations.

“There were some fraudulent signatures that were submitted a couple months ago, but the good news is that our office and the county clerk’s office were able to catch those,” he said.

“We verify every single signature that comes in. So you can imagine, we’re verifying hundreds of thousands of signatures over the past few months. And we do that one by one to make sure there is no fraud. The good news is we caught that, those signatures were removed, and we feel very good about the other signatures that have been verified this far.”

Beckham contends his group is “giving people the facts” by highlighting the “instances of forgery.”

“We’re going out there to say, ‘Hey, did you sign this?'” he said. “We’re asking people, ‘Do you understand this initiative did?'”

Kirk Jowers, the former head of the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics and a Count My Vote proponent, called the robocall “potentially a new low in all of Utah politics, which is saying something. (It’s) incredibly disappointing.”

Jowers called the robocall “a desperate attempt” by Keep My Voice “to hang on,” despite a recent Dan Jones poll showing that 76 percent of Utahns support having the signature-gathering path to primary ballots as an option.

Cox says voters who may have signed a ballot initiative petition but have since changed their minds can have their names removed until May 15.

“My message to people is very simply this: Do your homework before you sign a petition, and also do your homework before you unsign a petition,” he said. “Make sure you’re getting your facts straight and you know what it is you’re signing. … This isn’t to support something. This is just to get something on the ballot to let the people decide, and if it gets on to vote for or against it.”

Cox recommends that voters contact their county clerks to have their names removed, citing the possibility of identity theft.

“You do have to provide some fairly significant information to have your name removed, including your driver’s license and the last four digits of your Social Security number. I would be hesitant … to give that kind of information to any third party,” he said.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Politics + Government

This photo purports to show the suspected Chinese balloon flying over Mills River, North Carolina, ...
Heather Chen and Wayne Chang, CNN

China says it ‘reserves the right’ to deal with ‘similar situations’ after US shoot down suspected spy balloon

China says it "reserves the right" to deal with "similar situations" following the United States' decision to shoot down its high-altitude balloon.
1 day ago
The Chinese national flag is seen at the entrance to the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in Beijing...
By Zachary Cohen, CNN

A look at China’s history of spying in the US

The suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that violated American airspace this week has fueled a diplomatic crisis with the postponement of Secretary of State Antony Blinken's planned trip to Beijing.
2 days ago
A balloon flies in the sky over Billings, Montana, U.S. February 1, 2023, in this picture obtained ...
Zachary Cohen, CNN

US military has shot down the Chinese spy balloon off US East Coast, US official says

The US military has shot down the suspected Chinese surveillance balloon over the Atlantic Ocean off the Eastern Seaboard, a US official said Saturday.
2 days ago
Martin Gold, a visiting scholar with the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation, says the Filibuster is critical...
Mark Jones

Filibuster is critical if country is to maintain compromise, expert says

A visiting scholar to the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation told Inside Sources Friday how important the filibuster is to compromise.
3 days ago
Britt Johnson

Utah County men facing charges for defrauding the United States

The claims state that Zachary Bassett and Mason Warr used a fraudulent tax scheme to receive COVID-19-related relief funds.
3 days ago
Rep. Kera Birkeland, R-Morgan, sponsor of HB297 Victim Services Amendments, poses for a portrait at...
Katie McKellar, Deseret News

A Utah lawmaker and her sister at odds: Should rape victims need to contact police before getting an abortion?

Rep. Kera Birkeland says her bill focuses on rape victim services and holding rapists accountable. But her sister, a rape survivor, says it strips away choices.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Robocall sparks debate between rival ballot measures