SALT LAKE CITY — After spending the weekend in Nevada reviewing alleged voting irregularities, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes says there are legitimate concerns that need to be examined and possibly remedied.
“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.
“I volunteered in Nevada on my own time to review these issues up close,” he said. “Some mistakes there may have been made innocently. Others appear more intentional.”
Meantime, Republican members of Utah’s congressional delegation are weighing in on the presidential race, mostly saying President Donald Trump has a right to exhaust all legal avenues to contest the results.
Multiple national news outlets called the presidential election for Democratic former Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday. Trump has refused to concede and vowed to continue to seek recounts and mount legal challenges in what he has called a corrupt election.
Trump continued to tweet Monday about battleground states in which he is challenging the outcome.
Adam Laxalt, a Republican former Nevada attorney general, is the Trump Campaign Nevada co-chairman and Matt Schlapp is the chairman of the American Conservative Union.
Reyes, a Republican, tweeted last Friday that he was taking “personal leave” to help prepare and support litigation in several states dealing with a “compromised election process.”
The presidential race was so close that scrutiny would likely occur no matter who won, he said. States are unlikely to certify the results until legal challenges are settled, Reyes said,
“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, who was reelected last week, said he does not think all votes in the 2020 election are compromised, lauding volunteers and election officials in Utah and across the country for working hard to ensure that “all legal votes are counted properly.”
He said he’s investigating because Utahns and American deserve answers.
“We deserve to investigate and find out because any evidence of wrongdoing, whether intentional or not, compromises the overall fairness of the electoral process and can disenfranchise the votes of millions of Americans,” Reyes said.
The United Utah Party congratulated Reyes on his reelection, and then blasted him for joining the effort to “undermine” the integrity the electoral process in a statement Monday.
“It is one thing if he did this as a private citizen. But he is inappropriately leveraging the reputation of the state of Utah to lend credibility to President Trump’s unwillingness to recognize the reality of his defeat,” according to the centrist party’s co-founder Jim Bennett.
Bennett said it is unbecoming of Reyes to leave the state to pursue other legal activities in the wake of his reelection. He should be devoting his full time not to being a partisan operative, but to serving the people in his role as attorney general, Bennett said.
The United Utah Party also renewed its call for an amendment to the Utah Constitution making attorney general a nonpartisan office.
Utah GOP Rep. John Curtis said Trump should be entitled to every legal opportunity to make his case, but until a court finds wrongdoing, Biden should be acknowledged as the president-elect, he said.
“Given the opportunity to address Joe Biden, I would tell him that I will take him at his word that he will be a unifier and a president to all, including those of us that did not vote for him— I stand ready to help,” Curtis said in a statement. “To Donald Trump, I would say thanks for an amazing list of accomplishments over the past four years — too long to list.”
Curtis said the election has shown that the country is truly divided. Political rhetoric and attacks have seeped out of Washington, D.C., and into neighborhoods, friendships and families.
“Now is not the time to be sore winners and losers,” he said. “Now is the time to heal the wounds and come together as one United States.”
Sen. Mike Lee, a staunch Trump supporter, said both candidates have every right to exhaust every legal remedy at their disposal under the law. Voters on both sides of the political aisle expect and deserve to have a high level of confidence in the results of each election, he said.
“Especially in a close, hotly disputed presidential election, the candidates are uniquely positioned to decide whether to request recounts, verify the accuracy of data, and otherwise take steps to ensure that all votes have been counted properly and lawfully,” he said in a statement.
Lee also said he looks forward to working with whichever candidate emerges as the winner.
On Sunday, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, called on Americans to get behind Biden and that he has seen no evidence of widespread voter fraud.
“I think we get behind the new president, unless for some reason that’s overturned, we get behind the new president and wish him the very best,” he told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”