clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Nevada official tells Utah attorney general to ‘mind his own business’ over election

Utah’s GOP governor-elect ‘troubled’ by party’s acceptance of unproven allegations

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes answers a question during a debate on Oct. 21, 2020.
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, a Republican, answers a question as he debates defense attorney Greg Skordas, a Democrat, in the KSL studios in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Nevada’s attorney general had sharp words for Utah Republican Attorney General Sean Reyes saying he observed “voting irregularities” during a weekend trip to the neighboring Silver State.

“I would ask that he mind his own business, frankly,” Democratic Attorney General Aaron Ford said, according to a story in the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Wednesday.

Ford called Reyes’ involvement a “disrespectful slap in the face,” and said his Utah colleague has not returned phone calls or texts.

After visiting Nevada last weekend, Reyes said there is evidence of voting irregularities that may have resulted in improper votes being counted or proper votes being rejected.

“How many? Will they make a difference? These are the answers we are seeking,” he said in a prepared statement Monday in response to a request for an interview.

Reyes’ statement did not cite any specific incidents of alleged ballot counting abuse.

Multiple national news outlets called the presidential election for Democratic former Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday. According to a running tabulation of votes reported Thursday morning by the Associated Press, Biden received 77.2 million votes to Trump’s 72.1 million, and Biden holds an Electoral College lead of 290-217.

Biden leads in Nevada by more than 36,000 votes.

Trump has refused to concede and vowed to continue to seek recounts and mount legal challenges in what he has called a stolen election.

On Thursday, Utah Republican Gov.-elect Spencer Cox tweeted that he is “deeply troubled” at the general acceptance of unproven allegations that undermine the electoral system.

“It’s happening today w my party and it happened in 2016 when 67% of Dems believed that Russia tampered w vote tallies to elect Trump. It was wrong then and it’s wrong now,” said Cox, who as lieutenant governor oversees Utah elections.

“If you spoke out against false accusations then, please do so now. And if you are speaking out now, I really hope you did so then. Sometimes our team just loses. It doesn’t mean the other side cheated, it just means we have to work harder next time to convince more voters,” Cox tweeted.

Reyes said he was taking “personal leave” to help prepare and support litigation in several states dealing with a “compromised election process.”

“People may not like postelection scrutiny, but it’s a right that can’t be ignored,” he said. ”This kind of inquiry is part of the process and I am proud to assist in it.”

Reyes is among several GOP attorneys general across the country who are weighing in on election-related legal action in several states.

Earlier this week, the Republican Attorneys General Association announced the filing of a multistate amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in the Pennsylvania mail-in ballot challenge case.

Led by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, 10 GOP attorneys general asked the court to reverse the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision to allow mail-in ballots to be received three days after Election Day.

Reyes, who is on the Republican Attorneys General Association executive committee, was not among them.

In addition to Missouri, attorneys general in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, South Dakota and Texas signed onto the brief.

In Nevada, Ford said none of the legal challenges brought by Trump or the Republican Party have provided any evidence of fraud. He said the claims are only being made to undermine the integrity of the state’s election process.

“Those who are running these tactics, I will call them what they are. They’re saboteurs,” Ford said in the Las Vegas Review-Journal story.

The United Utah Party and Alliance for a Better Utah were among those criticizing Reyes, who won reelection last week, for involving himself in the Nevada election. They said he should devote his time to serving Utahns, not being a partisan political operative.