After volunteering a weekend in Nevada to help President Donald Trump’s campaign investigate voting problems there, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said Monday that mistakes were found.
“There is evidence of voting irregularities that may have resulted in improper votes being counted or proper votes being rejected,” he said in a written statement.
“How many? Will they make a difference? These are the answers we are seeking,” he said. “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.”
While all major U.S. news operations have called the election for Joe Biden, Reyes said he will continue — on his personal time without spending taxpayer money — “to continue to work with those in Nevada or any other state to make sure claims are brought as quickly and accurately as possible.”
He added that only after “courts have ruled and certifications are finalized” can “we get a definitive outcome for America.”
Reyes’ actions has been criticized by political rivals, so Reyes sought to defend them in his statement on Monday.
“People may not like post-election scrutiny, but it’s a right that can’t be ignored. This kind of inquiry is part of the process and I am proud to assist in it,” he said.
Reyes said those who want to ignore concerns and move on immediately are like “fans rushing the field after the winning TD on the last play of the game. If the opposing coach throws a challenge flag, the game isn’t over until the officials come back, review the play and make the final call.”
He added that Americans will have confidence in elections only if questions about them are fully answered.
“We should be united in the desire to carefully review and remedy any irregularities,” he said. “On behalf of whomever wins the election and for the integrity of the vote, let us make sure the election result is fair and not undermined or questioned due to these concerns.”
Courts and news organizations that have looked at claims of voting fraud or irregularities in Nevada to date have found no evidence that either occurred, according to reports by The Washington Post and the fact-checking website PolitiFact.
Meanwhile on Monday, the United Utah Party criticized Reyes' actions, and even called for a constitutional amendment to make the office of Utah attorney general nonpartisan.
A statement by that party said, “Reyes has chosen to join the effort to question the integrity of the election process and put that ahead of his official responsibilities. 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.”
It added that “Reyes' claim that he is taking a leave of absence from his office is a charade. It is unbecoming of him to leave the state to pursue other legal activities in the wake of his re-election. He should be devoting his full time not to being a partisan operative, but to serving the people in his role as attorney general.”
So the party renewed its call to make attorney general a nonpartisan office. “This should be an office to be elected by the voters in a nonpartisan election rather than through a political party nomination process. We do not need or deserve an Attorney General who puts his party before the state of Utah.”
Reyes' work for the Trump campaign was also criticized by Democrat Greg Skordas, whom Reyes defeated in this year’s election.
Skordas said Friday that the efforts from the Trump campaign to “throw out” legitimate votes was “unconscionable” and “un-American.”
“We’ve shown here in Utah that vote by mail works,” he said in an interview. “We’ve done it for years. It’s had no problem. And to have one of our leaders travel around the country to say, ‘It worked in our state but didn’t work in yours’ is really immoral.”
Reyes was reelected with 61% of the vote, as of counts on Monday.