Jonathan Johnson’s campaign manager has alleged that signature gatherers working for Gov. Gary Herbert may have used unethical means to get residents to sign the incumbent’s ballot access petition.
A letter detailing allegations of petition fraud were sent to Lt. Governor Spencer Cox, Attorney General Sean Reyes, and the state Republican Party. Dave Hansen, who is the head of Johnson’s campaign, said that he began hearing the rumors soon after the start of signature gathering.
“It was right after the signatures started and we got some calls from people saying that they’d had some strange questions asked when the signature gatherers came to their door. Then we started noticing it on Facebook and other social media of people kind of complaining about the same thing,” Hansen said. “The other thing we noticed is that they were not necessarily in one neighborhood, but it was pretty much scattered throughout the Wasatch Front.”
The allegations include false claims by signature gatherers to represent the Utah GOP, as well as residents being asked to forge their souses’ signatures.
The handling of elections falls under the jurisdiction of the Lt. Governor. Hansen said that, because he is running on the same ticket as Herbert, Cox should hand any potential investigation over to a separate authority.
“We would like someone to investigate this. We’re not accusing anybody, we’re bringing up the question and saying, ‘look, if we’re receiving these kinds of reports, somebody needs to investigate this process,’” he said. “And somebody without a vested interest in it. So, let’s let an independent organization, whether it be the Attorney General or somebody else, take a look at it.”
A source within the Attorney General’s office confirmed that they did receive a letter from Hansen, but added that it would be up to the Lt. Governor to hand over any investigation.