Home / Trending / Utah County’s explanation for losing thousands of initiative petition signatures: they were put in the wrong pile. Oh, neatly.

Utah County’s explanation for losing thousands of initiative petition signatures: they were put in the wrong pile. Oh, neatly.

So how did the Utah County Clerk’s Office fail to procedure — and lose track of — thousands of signatures on petitions in quest of to put the Count My Vote initiative on the poll?

“They had been put in the pile with the already worked packets,” County Clerk-Auditor Bryan Thompson wrote to Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox in a letter launched Thursday.

In different phrases, Thompson stated it was once no longer the consequence of anything else nefarious to harm the initiative that is known as, finally, Count My Vote. It was once only a silly mistake.

That comes an afternoon after the place of work of Cox — the state’s most sensible election officer — discovered a field of 105 petition packets that it stated had no longer been processed. It despatched them again to Utah County, and Cox additionally asked a written explanation about what took place.

Taylor Morgan, govt director of Count My Vote, says the ones packets include thousands of signatures. Some come from state Senate districts the place warring parties stated the initiative had fallen brief of the required quantity of signatures after a marketing campaign to steer supporters to take away their names, in step with Morgan.

Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune Sharilyn and Gavin Grooms (left) chat with Tanner Leatham (proper) as he gathers signatures for Sen. Curt Bramble, at their house in Provo, Monday, January four, 2016.

Thompson’s letter to Cox looked as if it would counsel the error got here as his workforce was once overworked, and that it deserved no less than section of the credit score for finding the misplaced signatures.

Thompson famous his workforce had labored arduous on verifying signatures from projects “in addition to an Orem City petition, and multiple candidate petitions packets.”

He famous that Count My Vote officers requested his place of work on Tuesday “about some packets that they had submitted that did not appear to have been processed based upon preliminary reports in the system.”

He stated his place of work when put next its data to these of Count My Vote, “and determined that there was a possibility that some of the unprocessed packets may have been placed in a box with packets that had already been processed.”

Thompson stated his place of work knowledgeable Cox’s workforce about that chance, as the data by way of that point have been shipped to the state Capitol for retention. Cox’s place of work then came upon the field complete of unprocessed packets.

“Our staff has made it a priority to process those packets and enter them into the system,” Thompson wrote, vowing to finish that paintings by way of overdue Thursday.

Justin Lee, state elections director for Cox, stated he has till June 1 to rule on which projects will seem on the Nov. 6 poll. He stated he expects no ultimate bulletins till simply prior to that time limit.

Asked if Thompson’s explanation was once ample — or if Cox is thinking about sanctions or different motion — Lee stated, “We don’t have any comment on that at this time.”

To qualify for the poll, projects want voter signatures equivalent to 10 p.c of the votes solid in the ultimate presidential election — a minimal of 113,000 statewide — and will have to reach that share in no less than 26 of Utah’s 29 state Senate districts.

Taylor has stated his workforce figures every other 50 packets in Washington and Iron counties have additionally disappeared, and feature no longer but been discovered. With the came upon lacking signatures in Utah County, he stated his workforce is assured the initiative will qualify for the poll.

The initiative seeks to reaffirm two paths to the poll for applicants: the caucus-convention device and/or gathering signatures. Supporters say their plan provides electorate extra possible choices. Opponents prefer returning to the previous device the place a candidate may handiest get on the poll by way of going via birthday celebration caucuses and conventions.

Thompson wrote his explanation letter to Cox on Wednesday, when he had declined to respond to press inquiries, pronouncing he was once too busy getting ready for a assets tax sale. Thompson was once defeated in his bid for re-election this 12 months at the Utah County Republican Convention after different gaffes by way of his place of work.

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