Utah Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson said she is confident in the integrity of Utah’s elections in light of an audit request from the Utah Legislative Audit Subcommittee.
House Majority Leader Mike Schultz, R-Hooper, presented the motion at this week’s subcommittee meeting. Henderson oversees the Office of Elections.
The measure was opposed by House Minority Leader Brian King.
“We have no reason to believe that there are significant election integrity issues here in Utah,” King said. “I think it is unwise for this committee to be acting in a way that could be construed as buying into the framework that we’ve had of what some have called ‘the big lie’ that the election was stolen or that there were significant irregularities to the degree that we need to have this audit.”
Some have questioned President Joe Biden’s win and blame state election processes, including vote by mail. Former President Donald Trump won in Utah with more than 58% of the vote.
Henderson said she had faith in Utah’s system in a statement provided to The Center Square.
“I welcome the Legislative Auditor General's examination of Utah's election systems,” Henderson said. “This year I have personally visited most counties in the state to review our processes. I am confident in the accuracy and integrity of our elections, but there are always things we can do better. Although my office is immediately moving forward with our plans for improvements to election procedures, I look forward to seeing any recommendations from the audit once it is completed.”
In a Twitter post, Henderson said, “The endgame of election conspiracy theorists is to destroy Utah’s vote by mail system and severely restrict people’s ability to vote.”
Schultz said the audit request isn’t about the 2020 election and the “issue shouldn’t be partisan whatsoever.” He said he was concerned because a family member had received “double ballots” in the mail.
“I have full faith and confidence in every election official all across our states and their staffs,” Schultz said. “I am hopeful that the audit comes back ... as clean and restores confidence or gives the citizens of this state the confidence in our election process.”
The committee passed the measure with King and Sen. Karen Mayne, D-West Valley City, voting “no.”
The audit comes in the midst of a leadership change at the Office of Elections. Henderson appointed Weber County Elections Director Ryan Cowley to lead the state’s Office of Elections earlier this week. Former Director Justin Lee stepped down in July. Cowley begins his job Monday.