Liars will keep lying, Robert Gehrke writes, but Utahns still have faith in elections

New polling data shows better than 80% of Utahns have confidence in how Beehive State voters cast ballots.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Robert Gehrke.

Last Thursday, former President Donald Trump lashed out on one of his favorite topics, claiming there was massive corruption in the Pennsylvania elections.

“Pennsylvania is a very corrupt State with voting, but nobody ever wants to check that,” he said in an official statement, questioning how Republican candidate Mehmet Oz could “lose to a guy who can’t string together two sentences? They don’t want to check, because they don’t want to make me right.”

Earlier in the day, he made similar claims about elections in Nevada and Arizona.

“Clark County, Nevada, has a corrupt voting system … as do many places in our soon-to-be Third World Country,” he ranted in a post on his Truth social media platform. “Arizona even said ‘by the end of the week!’ — They want more time to cheat!”

We’re used to this by now — wholly unsupported and reckless claims of fraud any time he or one of the candidates he dragged to defeat loses.

South Carolina Sen. Lyndsey Graham flatly declared in a call late last week that there “is no mathematical way” Republican candidate Adam Laxalt loses in Nevada. “If he does, then it’s a lie,” he said, according to Politico.

Again, there is zero evidence of fraud. And the way he loses is he gets fewer votes, which it appears he will do.

The lies are intentional, meant to undermine trust in our processes and they are a very real threat to our democracy. Fortunately, it appears that the vast majority of Utah voters see them for what they are and have not been pulled into the lie, at least as it pertains to elections here at home.

According to new polling data by Y2 Analytics, Utahns overwhelmingly have confidence that their elections are free, fair and accurate.

All told, 84% of voters said they were confident their ballots would be counted accurately; 86% said they believe Utah’s elections produce fair outcomes; and 92% are satisfied with the methods they used to cast ballots.

Those levels are actually slightly improved — by 2% in each case — from where they were when Y2 asked voters the same questions in the aftermath of the 2020 election.

Those are massive margins of support and show that, here at home, the election fraud fantasies have been rightly relegated to the extreme fringes.

A large share of the praise goes to Utah’s 29 county clerks, who’ve made efforts since 2020 to be proactive and engage with the public, throwing open their doors to let anyone who doubted the process see for themselves how elections are run.

Credit also goes to Utah Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson and her office. Henderson has been vocal about touting the security and fairness of Utah’s elections and pushed back against fraud claims when necessary, even when they come from members of her own party.

When Republican Salt Lake County clerk candidate Goud Maragani took to Twitter to suggest that “the clerk’s office can change your vote” while processing ballots, Henderson shut it down.

“It would be well worth your time and probably give you much peace of mind to visit your county clerk’s office to learn about how elections are actually run,” she clapped back.

Fortunately, it appears Maragani will be soundly beaten in his bid for clerk.

Henderson said Friday that the public’s support for the election system validates the efforts of elections officials.

“We’ve made a concerted effort to improve our processes and bolster public trust,” she said. “I have to give credit to the clerks who have gone above and beyond to educate and open their doors to the public. It’s a tough time for them to be election officials, but they are dedicated public servants who care deeply about voters. It’s good to see their hard work translate into increased confidence in our elections.”

But just because Utahns have not been infected by viral misinformation doesn’t mean we can let down our guard.

The lies will continue, meaning Utahns who value our system of elections will need to remain vigilant and defend our most fundamental democratic institution.