DANIELLA RIVERA

KSL Investigation examines more than a decade of alleged election crime in Utah

Jun 24, 2024, 10:40 PM | Updated: 10:43 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – “You’re charged in this case with fraudulent voter registration,” a Utah judge told a man appearing remotely during a Grand County court hearing Monday morning.

If convicted, the man could face up to a year in jail, Seventh District Judge Don Torgerson said.

The case is one of three filed by Grand County prosecutors this year, accusing men with Colorado addresses of registering to vote in Utah using the addresses of vacant plots of land.

However, within minutes, the charge in question was dropped Monday. County Attorney Stephen Stocks told the judge the man had provided evidence he had plans to build a residence on the land at the time that he registered to vote.

“Once the housing process fell through,” the man explained, “no further effort was made.”

No vote was cast, and the case is now dismissed. The cases against the other two men are still pending.

The KSL Investigators learned about the cases after requesting records from the Utah’s statewide court system to examine every alleged violation of the state’s election code prosecuted since July 2012, through end of May this year.

In the nearly 12-year time period, the data shows there have been a total of 32 cases – containing a total of 58 charges – filed. In some years, no cases were filed. While this year, there’s been a high of 12.

(KSL TV)

Nearly half of those cases (five) are connected to what the Utah Attorney General’s Office calls a scheme to submit fraudulent signatures in candidate nomination petitions in Utah’s 2nd District.

“That’s an area that we’ve seen a significant rise in those attempts,” said Utah Director of Elections Ryan Cowley, “and when we do catch that, we do turn that over. We are prosecuting that.”

Another case involves a Cache County election worker accused of forging a document. Other alleged crimes under prosecution in Utah include the removal or destruction of campaign signs, and one man is accused of voting his deceased wife’s ballot.

In the last nearly 12 years, just one man was charged with “false impersonation—double voting” after the 2020 General Election. He previously told the KSL Investigators that it was his first election as a voter and he misunderstood that provisional ballots were actual ballots, and voted again in person on Election Day. The county clerk caught the duplicate ballot. He was offered a diversion agreement, and the case was dismissed after he paid a $50 fine.

KSL Investigation finds few cases of election crimes prosecuted in Utah 

Cowley said the most common instances of fraud are people signing ballots that aren’t their own. Even with permission or as a favor, he stressed that doing so is illegal.

“I think catching these instances of fraud, it is important, and I think does give us further confidence that the processes we have in place are working,” he said, noting the state’s robust signature verification process.

Cowley said Utah has never experienced voter fraud significant enough to sway the results of an election.

And there’s little to be gained by trying to game the system, said Josh McCrain, an assistant political science professor at the University of Utah.

“You’re not going to affect the outcome of the election and you’re going to get caught,” he said. “So in that sense, like the risk/reward makes no sense.”

That’s why, he says, we don’t see widespread voter fraud in America.

“There’s very little to zero empirical evidence that there’s anything like voter fraud in U.S. elections,” McCrain said.

Still, when it comes to whether Utah candidates will accept the results of Tuesday’s Republican primary election, not everyone is in agreement.

“As far as whether I will accept the results of the election, I will say this,” gubernatorial candidate Phil Lyman told reporters earlier this month, “I will be checking the results of the election.”

In response to the same question, Gov. Spencer Cox said, “I assure you, I will accept the result of this election. I will accept the results of federal elections. I accepted the results of the elections four years ago and nothing’s changed.”


Have you experienced something you think just isn’t right? The KSL Investigators want to help. Submit your tip at investigates@ksl.com or 385-707-6153 so we can get working for you.

Daniella Rivera

In 2002, organizers showed the world Utah could host the Winter Games and turn a profit. This time,...

Daniella Rivera

What does hosting the 2034 Winter Games mean for Utah’s economy?

Researchers project Utah’s economy will see a big boost over the next decade as the state prepares to host the 2034 Olympic Winter Games.

15 hours ago

With Ruby Franke and Jodi Hildebrandt both convicted of child abuse and serving prison sentences, K...

Daniella Rivera

Kevin Franke calls for child welfare reform after YouTube mom sent to prison for child abuse

With Ruby Franke and Jodi Hildebrandt both convicted of child abuse and serving prison sentences, Kevin Franke is breaking his silence in an attempt to help protect other families.

15 days ago

Judge Keith Barnes addressing Mia Bailey about her charges....

Garna Mejia, KSL TV, and Daniella Rivera, KSL Investigates

New details emerge about protective order against Mia Bailey, accused of murdering her parents in St. George

KSL's Investigators have obtained exclusive new details on a protective order filed against Mia Bailey, the 28-year-old accused of murdering her parents last month in St. George.

15 days ago

Candidates for the Republican primary's Utah’s 3rd Congressional District in a televised debate a...

Daniella Rivera and Annie Knox

KSL Truth Test: Fact-checking GOP candidates in race for Utah’s open US House seat

The KSL Investigators looked into claims from five Republican candidates vying to replace Rep. John Curtis in the U.S. House of Representatives.

1 month ago

...

Daniella Rivera and Annie Knox

KSL Truth Test: Fact-checking claims from GOP candidates for Utah governor

The KSL Investigators fact-check a range of statements from Utah's GOP gubernatorial candidates.

1 month ago

A debate for Republican candidates vying for Utah’s open U.S. Senate seat ended with a heated exc...

Daniella Rivera and Annie Knox

KSL Truth Test: Fact-checking claims from tense end to Utah GOP Senate debate

Utah’s Republican U.S. Senate primary debate ended with one candidate seemingly implying wrongdoing by another. The KSL Investigators put that claim through the KSL Truth Test.

1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

young male technician is repairing a printer at office...

Les Olson

Unraveling the dilemma between leasing and buying office technology

Carefully weigh these pros and cons to make an informed decision that best suits your business growth and day-to-day operation. 

A kitchen in a modern farmhouse....

Lighting Design

A room-by-room lighting guide for your home

Bookmark this room-by-room lighting guide whenever you decide to upgrade your lighting or style a new home.

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

KSL Investigation examines more than a decade of alleged election crime in Utah