Press Release: Johnson for Governor Campaign Sends Letter to Lt. Governor Cox Asking for Investigation of Ballot Petition Signature Gathering Process

The Johnson for Governor campaign manager sent a letter to Lt. Governor Spencer J. Cox alerting him to allegations of potential voter fraud and requesting he investigate these allegations.

The letter, from campaign manager Dave Hansen, summarizes attempts to obtain ballot petition signatures under misleading or false pretenses and potential fraudulent tactics.  Hansen’s letter included four separate letters documenting these incidents. Hansen voiced his concern about potential voter fraud occurring in the ballot petition signature gathering process. Hansen sent a copy of the letter to Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes and Chairman of the Utah Republican Party James Evans.

The letter outlined the following unethical and potentially illegal acts performed by ballot petition signature gatherers:

  • Signature gatherers fraudulently stating they represent the Utah Republican Party when they do not.  When questioned directly about this incorrect representation, the gatherers state they have been “trained” by their employer to make that representation.

  • Signature gatherers asking voters to forge the signature of a spouse or partner when the spouse or partner is not physically present.

  • Signature gatherers stating Utah voters are required to sign a “refusal list” if they refuse to sign a petition.

  • Signature gatherers using a “bait and switch” tactic when gathering signatures for multiple candidates by giving a signer the petition of a candidate the voter has declined to support, in the hopes that a signer will not notice the “bait and switch” and sign the wrong petition.  

Hansen called for an independent agency (e.g., the Utah Attorney General’s office) to investigate the facts outlined in the letter to ensure the honesty and integrity of Utah elections and strict compliance with Utah law.

Hansen expressed concern regarding the Lt. Governor’s conflict of interest with this investigation: “I am concerned that under current law that you, as the Lieutenant Governor and State Election Officer, have the responsibility of overseeing an honest and compliant election process while at the same time you have a vested interest in approving the signatures gathered on your behalf (i.e., the Herbert/Cox ticket).  This concern is heightened because it appears you (i.e., the Herbert/Cox campaign) employed the company accused of the unethical and questionable practices noted above.”

The Johnson for Governor campaign announced in January that it would not gather ballot petition signatures, but rely solely on the caucus-convention process to secure a position on the primary ballot.