Thursday April 28, 2016, Defending Utah interviewed Heather Gardner about possible fraud in her race for Senate District 23.
Discrepancies between the amount of voters vs. the amount votes (The first vote had 148 credentialed delegates but had 151 votes cast) lead to a re-vote where Gardner “lost” the chance to go to a primary by .06%. The second round of voting had similar problems as the first, with 153 credentialed delegates voting, but 155 votes being cast.
Gardner said she was quite comfortable with the loss and was more than prepared to move on with her life when concerned constituents and witnesses started texting her about things they had witnessed about the second vote. Reports of additional people being allowed to vote, delegates not being told where the vote was being moved to, ballots being left out for anyone to use, ID not being checked and more, lead Gardner to ask the party to investigate. The party quickly issued a statement that the matter had been investigated and that the matter was closed.
With all of the witnesses coming forward, Gardner requested that her lawyer be allowed to view the ballots to see if they could determine wrong doing or if they could verify that everything was on the “up and up”, certifying the election for Todd Weiler. The Gardner campaign was allowed to view documents but party chair, James Evans, said the documents would be destroyed. Later, it was discovered that Evans did not forward the document request to the elections chair. When the elections chair did receive the request, he halted the move to destroy the documents and is now forwarding to Gardner’s attorney.
The response from Weiler supporters has been to go to social media accusing Gardner of not respecting the wishes of the delegates. Others on Weilers team have gone so far as to accuse Gardner of the fraud that she is working to uncover. Davis county party bosses have blocked Gardner from party social networking pages, in what Gardner calls a campaign of “retaliation” and “public shaming”, saying that Gardner should “respect the will of the delegates”.
With votes vs voters in dispute, how can anyone know the will of the delegates so that they can respect it?
UPDATE: 5 May, 2016
Press release on the SD23 race contest from Heather Gardner’s lawyer:
“Dear Friends in the Media:
I represent Heather Gardner, Republican candidate for State Senate District 23, who opposed Todd Weiler at the Utah Republican Convention on April 23. Our investigation of the facts surrounding the SD 23 vote, and whether a Primary Election should be held between Mrs. Gardner and Mr. Weiler, uncovered at least two illegal ballots in the second vote. I offer the following statement on behalf of Mrs. Gardner:
“We appreciate the overwhelming support and comments from the delegates and from the public regarding the irregularities in the Senate District 23 candidate ballot votes at the Utah Republican Convention on April 23, 2016. We also appreciate the Utah Republican Party representatives allowing us to review the ballots, tally sheets, delegate lists, and sign-in sheets. During the Convention, the Party held two separate ballot votes for Senate District 23. The Party voided the first vote on the basis that one individual obtained and submitted two ballots. Our initial review of the ballots and tally sheets identified one delegate from another district who was ineligible but voted in the second vote. Upon further inquiry, we identified one delegate who was not present at the Convention, but the Party identified the individual as having cast a vote in the second vote. These two votes most certainly affected the outcome of the race. We also identified at least twenty other inconsistencies between the Party’s delegate lists and the sign in sheets that identified the delegates who participated in the second vote. We have requested that the Party conduct a new ballot vote in connection with Mrs. Gardner’s initial challenge registered with the Party on the day of the Convention, but the Party has not responded. We are hopeful that the Party will rectify these irregularities resulting from the two illegal votes by holding a new ballot vote in Senate District 23 consistent with the Party’s governing documents and with Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, 11th ed. (Da Capo Press, 2011), and maintain the integrity of the ballot vote process on behalf of the members of the Party, the delegates who participated, and the voting public.”
Please direct your questions to me via email, and I will respond as quickly as my schedule allows. If you wish to speak with Mrs. Gardner directly, please let me know and I will communicate the request to her. I appreciate your attention in advance.
Christopher J. Finley
Sage Law Partners