ELECTION 2018

Love Files Suit To Stop Salt Lake County From Counting Ballots Without Campaign Present

Nov 14, 2018, 12:33 PM | Updated: 8:35 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Representative Mia Love and her campaign organization have filed suit against Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen, seeking to pause ballot counting until they can review, and potentially challenge, signatures on those ballots.

Attorney Robert P. Harrington filed the complaint in the Third Judicial District Court Wednesday.

As election workers continued to count thousands of mail-in and provisional ballots, the lawsuit contends the campaign has no way to challenge the decisions of workers who verify signatures.

In the lawsuit, Harrington argued poll monitors, “have observed myriad instances where a county worker verified a signature on a ballot envelope that did not appear to match the signature on file with the County.”

The suit asked the court to allow them to analyze and challenge the county’s signature determinations, prevent them from separating ballots from their envelopes, and stop the county from tabulating provisional ballots until they’ve had a chance to review and challenge signatures on them.

“We have great respect for the critical and at times, complex, ballot counting process. As we’ve spent hours observing these efforts, we’ve found a few instances where increased transparency and scrutiny are needed. Let us be clear, we are not accusing anyone of anything. Simply put, we have submitted this petition to improve the elections process,” Harrington said.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said they plan to fight the lawsuit. A motion to dismiss Love’s suit was filed late Wednesday.

“There has been, by even the admission of the opposing counsel that you showed me, there is no claim of wrongdoing and we will continue to do our business as usual,” Gill said.

Democratic challenger Ben McAdams, who holds a lead of fewer than 900 votes over Love, tweeted, “It is the job of election officials to decide what votes count, not political candidates. Rep. Love’s decision to sue only in SLCo as she continues to trail in this race is unfortunate and smacks of desperation. Utah voters deserve better than this.”

There will be a hearing on the lawsuit Thursday at 2 p.m. in West Jordan.

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Love Files Suit To Stop Salt Lake County From Counting Ballots Without Campaign Present