KSL INVESTIGATES

Gephardt: Where Do Utah’s AG Candidates Stand On President’s Call For Supporters To Watch Polls?

Oct 6, 2020, 11:08 PM | Updated: 11:33 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – President Donald Trump is facing some backlash after calling for his supporters to go to the polls and watch closely. Critics said it could lead to voter intimidation, which is against the law. So what do the people vying for the job of Utah’s attorney general have to say about the president’s remarks?

The president’s call-to-action came a week ago, during the first presidential debate. Watch, he said, for voter fraud.

“I’m urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully because that’s what has to happen,” Trump said. “I am urging them to do it.”

U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in the first presidential debate moderated by Fox News anchor Chris Wallace (C) at the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University on September 29, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Those remarks were met with harsh criticism from some politicos who fear some supporters of Trump may “watch” in ways that cause voter intimidation – such as how armed militias have been showing up to “watch” protests.

It could scare people away from voting.

In response to the president’s call-to-action, Nevada’s attorney general tweeted“Voter intimidation is illegal in Nevada. Believe me when I say it: You do it, and you will be prosecuted.” 

Voter intimidation is also illegal here in Utah, so the KSL Investigators wanted to ask the Utah Attorney General about his feelings on the subject. 

Sean Reyes initially declined to make time to talk to us, but when we learned he was making time to accept an award this afternoon, we decided to attend the event.

The award Reyes received came from the Daughters of the American Revolution, their Distinguished Citizen Medal in recognition of his work against human trafficking.

The ceremony lasted about an hour, then he spent another half-hour posing for pictures and swapping stories. Then he found time to talk to us.

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes. (KSL-TV)

“I didn’t hear our president call for any voter intimidation,” Reyes asserted.

He said fair and honest elections are a cornerstone of our country, and he said people who feel intimidated at the polls should report it to the Lieutenant Governor’s office.

“It is my commitment to look at anything that’s referred to us and if they have merit, investigate them and potentially prosecute them,” Reyes explained.

We had follow-up questions, but he walked away.

“People should be able to just go to a place to vote,” said Greg Skordas, Reyes’ opponent for Utah Attorney General.

Skordas agreed to an interview to discuss Trump’s comments.

Democratic nominee for Utah Attorney General Greg Skordas. (KSL-TV)

When we asked if he thought the president was trying to incite intimidation, Skordas responded, “No question.”

He said voter intimidation can come in lots of forms — from a guy with a gun at the polls to your boss pressuring you to vote a certain way.

And if he’s elected?

“It’s a law that is prosecutable as a crime and it’s something that the attorney general absolutely has the right and power to investigate and yes, that’s something we would investigate,” Skordas said.

According to the Lt. Governor’s Office, which oversees elections, in-person voting is not as common in Utah as vote-by-mail, which has been the more popular balloting option here for several years.

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Gephardt: Where Do Utah’s AG Candidates Stand On President’s Call For Supporters To Watch Polls?