The 2nd Congressional District primary race entered recount territory on Tuesday night when a final update from Washington County narrowed Maloy’s lead from over 300 votes to 214. The threshold for a losing candidate to request a recount is .25% of total votes cast, roughly 270 votes out of 107,000.

Maloy has so far received 50.1% of the vote to Jenkins’ 49.9%. This is the closest Republican congressional primary in Utah in 30 years.

Despite the tight race, Maloy appeared relieved during a video call with reporters on Tuesday night and said “214 votes is pretty close but it’s about 213 votes more than you need to win.”

“I’m glad to have some finality,” Maloy said. “I know we’re in potential recount territory but I don’t anticipate that a recount will change the outcome.”

The new wrinkle in the already two-week-long saga to decide whether Maloy will serve out a full term after winning a special election last year follows a string of questions by the Jenkins campaign over the number of ballots rejected because of problems with signature verification or late postmarks from the U.S. Postal Service.

“I certainly want to win but more importantly, I want to make sure that every legal ballot, every voice is heard,” Jenkins told the Deseret News. “So many, including some of my own good friends, have shed blood to protect our nation, our Constitution and sacred right to vote. How dare leaders rubber stamp something that is more than obviously wrong and silencing the precious vote of so many.”

Jenkins considering another lawsuit over late postmarked ballots as Rep. Maloy still leads in 2nd Congressional race

Multiple 2nd District lawsuits

Last week, Jenkins, a former Army special forces Green Beret colonel, filed a lawsuit to obtain the names and addresses of voters on the “uncured ballot list” in Washington County, where he beat Maloy 59%-41%. Jenkins sought the list in an attempt to encourage voters to reply to messages from the county clerk to remedy the missing or mismatched signatures on their ballots. On Monday, a judge ruled that clerks have discretion as to whether they will release cure lists to candidates before the election canvass.

Concerns over votes not being counted because they were postmarked on or after Election Day led to Iron County Commissioner Paul Cozzens refusing to certify election returns on Tuesday. He was overruled by the two other members of the county board of canvassers who shared Cozzens’ concerns but saw no legal pathway to count votes with late postmarks.

Mail-in ballots must be postmarked (stamped by post offices) before Election Day to be counted by county election offices, according to state code. Jenkins’ campaign told the Deseret News that the candidate may consider challenging the election outcome on constitutional grounds based on the differential treatment of voters because of late postmarked ballots.

During her Tuesday press conference, Maloy expressed confidence in Utah elections and a desire to let the process play out.

“It’s important that we count every legal ballot. It’s also important that people understand the rules of elections,” Maloy said.

Maloy said she trusts the state legislature to make any changes to the electoral system that are needed to improve election security and commended county clerks for their hard work “making sure that the ballots are counted correctly.”

“I’m not going to question the validity of the election,” Maloy said. “I think we should all be careful doing that. We need, as Americans, to be able to trust that our elections are free and fair. We need to be able to accept outcomes and move forward.”

Maloy watched her election-night lead shrink from around 1,000 ballots to 214 as voters responded to requests from clerks’ offices to remedy their rejected ballots, she said. “And I’m still willing to say that I trust the clerks and I think they’re doing a great job.”

Gov. candidate Phil Lyman questioned Utah’s elections. We looked into the process

When will the 2nd District have a recount?

The now-final county election returns will allow Jenkins to file a request for a recount with the state Lieutenant Governor’s Office. A recount includes recounting all ballots cast in a race and reexamining all uncounted ballots to ensure they were rightly discarded.

A recount for a multi-county race must be requested within seven days of the statewide canvass on July 22. The lieutenant governor must conduct a full recount of the race no later than seven days after the request, Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson clarified in a post on Tuesday night. This means the final results of the 2nd Congressional District primary recount could be released as late as August 5th.

Jenkins’ campaign confirmed with the Deseret News they intend to ask for a recount if the “results hold after the state canvass.”

“Definitely not over yet,” said Greg Powers, Jenkins’ general campaign consultant. “Especially given that we’ll be fighting for those late postmarked ballots in our southern Utah stronghold.”

The 13 counties touched by Utah’s 2nd Congressional District finalized their vote tallies on Monday and Tuesday during canvass meetings where county election officials presented county commissioners, and sometimes other county officials filling an absence, with the total number of ballots counted and reasons for the ballots that were not counted.

The canvass meetings followed public audits where 1% of ballots were hand counted and compared to tabulation results with members of the board of canvassers present.

Maloy already looking ahead to her first full term

Maloy said she doesn’t know what her campaign will look like in the intervening weeks before a recount is conducted but she is already looking ahead to a potential first full term in office.


Maloy cited a number of her bills on state water rights and federal permitting reform that she’s working on right now that she said will benefit the 2nd District. Despite Utah’s senior senator, Mike Lee, endorsing her opponent, Maloy said she looks forward to “having a good relationship with both of our senators and our whole House delegation” because that is “what’s best for Utah.”

Maloy said she has not talked personally with Lee but said their D.C. staffers have continued to work together on legislation they are co-sponsoring.

Maloy also expressed a desire to foster a strong relationship with all those who supported Jenkins during the primary.

“What I would say to anybody who didn’t vote for me in this race? Stick around, I’m just getting started,” Maloy said.

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