LOCAL NEWS

Trump Warns Of Mail-In Ballot Fraud; Utah Officials Say Safeguards In Place

Jun 25, 2020, 8:11 AM | Updated: 8:28 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah election officials responded to a series of statements by President Donald Trump claiming that vote-by-mail elections are susceptible to fraud and foreign interference.

“We would catch anything if someone were to try to create false ballots or fake ballots,” said Utah Elections Director Justin Lee.

Lee said Utah has layers of safeguards in place to make legitimate ballots immediately identifiable to county clerks across the state.

“If we saw something come in with that was on a different cardstock, that had the wrong barcode, that had issues like that, we would know there was a problem,” he said.

Because of the pandemic, Utah is preparing for its first completely vote-by-mail election. Voters participating in the June 30 primary will not find any in-person polling locations, just drop boxes to submit their mail-in ballots.

Utah Elections Director Justin Lee said any false or fake ballots would be detected immediately.

Utah Elections Director Justin Lee said any false or fake ballots would be detected immediately.

It comes at the same time that President Trump is criticizing the shift to voting by mail.

“With mail-in ballots, you introduce something in the middle of an election year, and you have something where it’s very complex,” Trump said at a rally in Arizona on Tuesday. “You have no time to fix this very complex process; it’s very complex. This will be, in my opinion, the most corrupt election in the history of our country and we cannot let this happen.”

Trump went on to accuse Democrats of using the pandemic as a way to increase mail-in voting. He told the crowd that Americans still went to the polls during WWI and WWII.

“We can safely go to the polls and vote during COVID-19,” he said.

On Monday, Trump tweeted in all caps his prediction that the 2020 election will be rigged with millions of mail-in ballots printed by foreign countries and others. He ended the tweet with: “IT WILL BE THE SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES!”

In response, Utah County Clerk/Auditor Amelia Powers Gardner told KSL that Utah’s sophisticated ballot-counting machines would easily detect ballots printed by third parties.

“We are weighing them to the microgram and we are measuring them to the millimeter,” she said. “If they don’t match our specifications, we reject that ballot.”

In addition, each voter’s signature is verified by an election worker. Gardner went on to explain that Utah’s system of universal vote by mail cuts down on potential fraud because all voters are automatically sent ballots with security features—unlike absentee voting where a ballot must be requested.

“A lot of people need to realize that where the fraud occurs and where the president’s concerns lie typically is with expanded absentee voting, not the same type of vote-by-mail that we do here in Utah,” Gardner said.

Utah Elections Director Justin Lee said any false or fake ballots would be detected immediately.

Utah has been slowly implementing vote-by-mail since 2012 and as of this year, the entire state is on board. The process includes efforts to clean voter rolls.

“We don’t want to send ballots to dead people and people who have moved because it costs us money,” Gardner said, “so we do a lot of work to update our voter rolls.”

For more information on changes made to Utah’s upcoming primary election you can visit: https://voteinfo.utah.gov/covid-19-information/

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Trump Warns Of Mail-In Ballot Fraud; Utah Officials Say Safeguards In Place