Cache County Clerk addresses office election law violations

Mar 1, 2024, 9:43 PM | Updated: 10:28 pm

LOGAN — Addressing a small but very inquisitive crowd Friday, Cache County Clerk and Auditor David Benson answered questions about findings from an investigation conducted by the Utah Lieutenant Governor’s Office.

The findings flagged numerous violations of Utah elections laws and administrative rules when it comes to processing elections and handling ballot data in Cache Valley.

The Utah Lieutenant Governor Office’s report in February noted 31 findings and recommendations. Benson said all the changes will be in place and ready in time for the Democratic primary next week, and that most of the fixes have already been made.

“I think part of the reason that happened was sheer momentum,” Benson said, referring to why the multiple unorthodox methods were being used, including using a Google document to track some ballot data.

Cache County clerk David Benson answers questions on Friday. (Mike Anderson, KSL News)

Cache County Clerk David Benson answers questions on Friday. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

Benson came into office on June 2023 as part of a special election, a time when the clerk/auditor’s office was already at full speed in preparing for the coming November election.

“I would say the lion’s share of those were probably just practices that we inherited. And as we were trying to do elections in September and November of last year,” he said.

Benson fielded questions about two election staffers who were put on administrative leave during the investigation. Utah Lieutenant Governor’s Office noted that the two provided falsified logic and accuracy test results, but did not find any evidence of voter fraud.

“I trust my staff to do exactly what their they’ve promised to do. And in the clerk’s office specifically, we take an oath,” Benson said.

Still, Benson said that he fully supports the Lieutenant Governor Office’s efforts to make sure elections are conducted in a safe and secure manner, even if it comes with some intense scrutiny.

“The result is that we are coming out of this a lot stronger,” Benson said. “(We’re) a lot more prepared for every single election from this point forward. And I welcome that scrutiny.”

He added that carrying out those election duties properly depends heavily on his office staff and elections volunteers.

“We really need to have a core set of staff members who are dedicated not to supporting a political candidate, not to being associated with any specific political party, but who are dedicated to doing a good job every single day and serving the community in their office,” Benson said.

In an unrelated change, the offices of clerk and auditor will be separated in the upcoming November election. Benson said both positions are easily full-time jobs on their own and that he was often putting in 80-hour workweeks during his tenure. He says he will not be running for either office.

Cache County election worker faces felony accusing him of forging election document

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Cache County Clerk addresses office election law violations