Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Utah candidate wonders how he won by one, then lost by five votes
Millard County » Challenger wonders how his one-vote election-night victory turned into a five-vote win for incumbent.
First Published Jul 07 2014 05:44 pm • Last Updated Jul 08 2014 07:40 pm

A Millard County Commission candidate who thought he’d won the Republican primary last month, only to learn he lost by five votes is questioning whether the ballot tally was on the level.

Jim Dyer appeared to have eked out a one-vote win over incumbent James Withers, only to see the outcome flip at the final tally.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

County Clerk Norma Brunson said there were a number of provisional and absentee ballots — all legally cast — that were added to the final results, giving Withers a five-vote margin of victory.

But Dyer, a former state senator and county commissioner in Colorado who retired to Fillmore last year, is incredulous at how the ballots were handled. His supporters said they were told there were no uncounted provisional or absentee ballots after the unofficial tally.

"The story I got was these votes were there but someone put them in a tub and they were sitting somewhere in the office and nobody noticed them," Dyer said. "So the day of the canvass they produced the votes, added them to the count and came up with a figure of 15 to 20 more ballots than they had the night of the election."

"It just struck me as odd," Dyer said.

Dyer has asked for a recount and may formally contest the outcome of the election.

Brunson said her office handled the provisional ballots the same way it always does — if they are verified as legal ballots they are added to the totals at the canvass.

"There were no surprise ballots," she said. "They keep throwing that at us. They were legal."

Absentee ballots that were mailed before the election are also valid and counted, she said.

story continues below
story continues below

"All the sudden we’re getting blamed for having counted them after the election," Brunson said, but that is not the case.

Dyer questions the chain of custody of the ballots, with ballots left unattended sitting in a bin. "That’s not how you handle ballots at all," he said.

Dyer may also officially contest the election, a motion that would have to be filed this week with the lieutenant governor’s office.

Meanwhile, a Utah County voter has filed a complaint with the attorney general and the lieutenant governor’s office against Utah County Attorney Jeffrey Buhman, alleging he violated several campaign and public-records laws. The complaint, signed by Utah County Republican Linda Housekeeper, claims Buhman used information that was supposed to be protected by state records laws — namely a tax abatement request and a job application — to cast his GOP primary opponent, Ben Stanley, in an unfavorable light.

It also alleges that Buhman claimed Stanley had no trial experience, when Stanley has represented several major corporations.

Buhman beat Stanley by 932 votes in the primary. Housekeeper said, if the allegations are proven to be true, Buhman’s win should be nullified and Stanley declared the victor.

State elections director Mark Thomas said his office would review the alleged election violations and determine if further investigation is warranted.

Buhman said Housekeeper is making unfounded allegations due to a long-standing grudge against the county attorney’s office.

"The allegations are absolutely false and they’re mean-spirited," he said. "I’m the county attorney. We do things above-board at all times, as I did in this case."

Buhman said he obtained the records relating to Stanley through open records requests he filed and were legally provided under state law. They were not, as Housekeeper alleged, obtained unlawfully.

Next Page >

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.