‘Elections-related investigation’ leads to Cache County clerk, two others being put on leave, officials say

Cache County officials are holding a recount Wednesday for races in Logan and Hyrum, which the county executive said is not related to the investigation.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Old Cache County Courthouse in Logan on Thursday, May 18, 2023.

Three members of the Cache County clerk’s office — including clerk David Benson — are on paid administrative leave due to an “elections-related investigation,” according to state and county officials.

The county employees, who work as elections officials in Cache County, were placed on leave after the Utah lieutenant governor’s office contacted the county this week “regarding a concern identified by the Lt. Governor’s election staff,” according to a Wednesday news release from Cache County officials.

In response, Benson placed two unnamed staff members on administrative leave before placing himself on administrative leave, “in order to support the integrity of the investigation,” according to the county.

County officials did not say what was included in or the nature of the document, nor would they comment further on the investigation.

The news comes less than a day after the lieutenant governor’s office confirmed to The Salt Lake Tribune that Cache County was conducting “an election-related investigation.”

“We are aware of an election-related investigation in Cache County,” Ryan Cowley, Utah’s director of elections, said in a statement Tuesday night. “The races undergoing recounts on December 13 are unrelated to this matter.”

Zook said Wednesday that the county’s investigation is not related to the Logan and Hyrum recounts, which are expected to be ongoing throughout Wednesday.

“Cache County is confident that the election process carried out by election staff has resulted in trustworthy and verifiable results,” the county officials said in the statement.

The Herald-Journal first reported Tuesday night that Benson and County Election Supervisor Dustin Hansen had been placed on administrative leave.

City council races in Logan and Hyrum fell within the guidelines for candidates to request a recount, and a candidate in each race filed for the recount last week. Representatives from the lieutenant governor’s office, the state’s top elections officials, were in Logan on Wednesday to assist in the county’s recount efforts.