POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Lawmakers want audit of Utah election results, state leaders say no statewide fraud

Oct 20, 2021, 6:33 PM | Updated: 7:07 pm
utah election audit...
Rep. Steve Christiansen, right, speaking with protesters calling for an audit of the 2020 election results at the Utah State Capitol. Photo credit: Paul Nelson

SALT LAKE CITY — Election integrity is on the agenda at the interim Judiciary Committee meeting on Utah’s capitol hill, as one republican lawmaker calls for an audit of Utah election results in 2020.

State leaders say there’s no widespread fraud in Utah. And a democratic lawmaker says even having election integrity on the agenda is a “colossal waste of time.”

“To even suggest that our elections are insecure perpetuates the big lie, and it has the potential to undermine our democracy,” said Democratic Sen. Derek Kitchen

“And taxpayers, quite frankly, deserve better,” he said.

 On Wednesday, Rep. Steve Christiansen went on Steve Bannon’s podcast and said he’s called for an audit of Utah elections results.


 

“I submitted a legislative audit request to do a forensic audit here in the state of Utah just to find out ‘are we clean or are we not clean’ because the voters absolutely need to know,” Christiansen told host Steve Bannon. 

He also went on to make unfounded and false claims about elections in Utah. 

State Elections leaders said there is no widespread fraud in Utah. Cases of fraud do happen, but it’s not widespread.

“They’re alleging all this fraud but we’ve never had that brought to us,” Deputy State Elections Director Shelly Jackson told KSL NewsRadio.

Utah’s Lt. Governor, Deidre Henderson, and Weber County Clerk Ricky Hatch will be among those testifying at today’s Judiciary Committee meeting. Hatch’s message? Elections in Utah aren’t perfect but election fraud is not widespread.

“Elections in Utah are secure, accurate, and trustworthy,” Hatch said. 

Rally for audit of Utah election results

Before the Judiciary Interim Committee meeting even began, over 100 people rallied on the Utah Capitol steps, calling on lawmakers to allow an independent audit into Utah’s 2020 election results. 

Rep. Steve Christiansen was one of the main speakers at the rally.  He believes there was voter fraud that impacted the results of the election, although he admits he can’t prove it.  In the end, he says there might not have been any fraud, but Utahns won’t know unless an independent audit is completed.

(People attending a rally outside the Utah Capitol, urging lawmakers to support the audit. Photo: Paul Nelson)

Christiansen says irregularities found in audits in other states prove election systems can be vulnerable, and he believes those findings warrant an audit in Utah.  If a statewide audit can’t be done, Christiansen believes an inspection of Salt Lake County and Utah County should suffice, since those counties are the most populated areas and have vastly different politics.

“All of our clerks in Utah will tell you our machines are not connected to the internet.  We need to demonstrate that,” he said.

Christiansen says individual citizens of Utah have looked over the available data, and they have questions about the 2020 results.  And analysts from outside the state have also reviewed it.

“All of them are indicating, and specifically for the state of Utah, that there is potential reason to be concerned.  Does it demonstrate convincingly and conclusively that there was fraud? No,” Christiansen said.

Gov. Cox says misinformation was presented at Judiciary Committee meeting

On Wednesday evening after testimony that was presented to the Judiciary Interim Committee, Gov. Spencer J. Cox and Lt. Gov. Henderson issued the following joint statement:

We are frustrated by the misinformation that was presented in the Judiciary Interim Committee today. Namely, that voting machines can be hacked, that there are more ballots than voters, that algorithms control voter registration, and other spurious claims made without evidence.

All of these assertions are absolute falsehoods and run counter to Utah law and the foundation of our constitutional republic. 

We recognize some voters have legitimate questions about our elections and we invite all citizens to be involved in our local elections to see the process first-hand.

But make no mistake: There is absolutely no evidence of election fraud in Utah. Utah has long been a model to the nation when it comes to voting and voter security. County clerks and local election offices execute their duties with accuracy and integrity. Utah follows the law.” 

Call for audit not a criticism of state elections workers

Lyman said their call for an audit is not a criticism of county clerks.  However, he says Utah relies too heavily on voter machines that are not controlled by the state, and he said bad actors are attacking the servers of those machine manufacturers every day.

“From an audit standpoint, that is a huge control risk.  It doesn’t say, ‘You switched votes from Trump to Biden.’  It doesn’t say any of that.  It says that’s a huge control risk,” said Lyman.

He believes audits should be done every year, but they should be conducted by outside agencies.

“If I’m auditing myself, then I’m in an echo chamber,” Lyman said.  “You get an independent person who comes in and goes down a checklist.”

 

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Lawmakers want audit of Utah election results, state leaders say no statewide fraud