Facebook Twitter

Utah group demands A.G. Reyes apologize or resign over election lawsuit involvement

SHARE Utah group demands A.G. Reyes apologize or resign over election lawsuit involvement
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 — Several hundred Utahns are demanding Republican Attorney General Sean Reyes step down if he’s unwilling to apologize for involving Utah in a lawsuit challenging presidential election results in other states.

In an open letter to Reyes containing more than 800 signatures, residents called on him to stop casting doubt on the legitimacy of the election and issue a public apology. Short of that, they want him to resign.

“As concerned Utahns who love both our state and our country, we feel we must speak out forcefully against your unilateral decision to add Utah to the amicus supporting the attempt by the state of Texas to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in four states where President Trump lost,” according to the letter.

“We remind you that, as our elected attorney general, your responsibilities and loyalties are to the citizens of Utah. You are accountable to us, not to the president or to any political party.”

Reyes had no comment on the letter Monday, according to attorney general’s office spokesman Rich Piatt.

Republican attorneys general in 17 states, including Reyes, filed an amicus brief last week in a Texas lawsuit seeking to invalidate Electoral College votes in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The U.S. Supreme Court turned down the petition Friday, saying Texas did not have legal standing to contest election procedures in other states.

The Electoral College on Monday affirmed Democrat Joe Biden’s win over President Donald Trump.

Reyes said he joined the Texas brief because there are questions about the election process and constitutional integrity that need to be answered nationally. He said the high court must decide whether state legislatures or the courts determine the time and place for voting.

Republican Gov. Gary Herbert and GOP Gov.-elect Spencer Cox condemned Reyes’ action. Herbert said there was no reason to involve Utah in challenging the election results of other states. Cox, a lawyer who oversees Utah elections, said he has seen no evidence of widespread voter fraud across the country.

Reyes said he was disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision in the Texas case.

“We exercised the independent authority of my office to seek clarity and finality to critical constitutional questions. Utah and America deserved answers that would give more confidence in the process,” he said in a statement last week.

The letter, signed by Stand Up Republic–Utah, Alliance for a Better Utah and SL Indivisible as well as individuals, accused Reyes of “blatant misuse of power.” Involving Utah in the lawsuit takes his attention away from state matters and distracts him from his doing his job, the letter says.

“Supporting a frivolous and undemocratic lawsuit intended to discredit our nation’s free and fair elections and disenfranchise millions of American voters in no way upholds our constitutions or protects the interests of the state of Utah and its people,” according to the letter. “In fact, attacking the integrity and legitimacy of one of our fundamental democratic processes does just the opposite.”

Last month, Reyes traveled to Las Vegas to weigh in on anticipated election-related legal action in several states. He said he saw evidence of voting irregularities in Nevada that may have resulted in improper votes being counted or proper votes being rejected.

The centrist United Utah Party again called for attorney general to be a nonpartisan position as it did after Reyes’ trip to Nevada.

“For the second time in as many months, Sean Reyes has utilized his position as Utah attorney general to engage in blatantly partisan activity with the goal of overturning the presidential election. Worse, this activity has escalated,” said Richard Davis, party chairman.

Davis said residents don’t need or deserve an attorney general who puts his party before the state.