Lyman post about voting machines raises concerns
Utahns from different political backgrounds had strong reactions to a social media post from an elected official from San Juan County over the weekend.
The message from Utah House of Representative Phil Lyman, a Republican from Blanding, was posted on social media after midnight on June 26.
The post from Lyman said he “had several reports from people claiming their in-person vote for Senator Mike Lee was changed to Becky Edwards.”
Incumbent US Senator Mike Lee participated in a Republican Primary Election on June 28 (after the SJR press deadline) against challengers Becky Edwards and Ally Isom.
Lyman’s post continued,
“The only option for in-person voting is to use voting machines at the county, which prints a receipt showing your votes. I’m told the printed receipts reveal this unauthorized shift. More concerning is the possibility of vote shifts even AFTER the receipt is printed. The machines are programmed with functionality to do exactly that… switch votes. We are finding evidence that the software absolutely has a back door.”
Lyman concluded by asking voters to be vigilant, check receipts, vote in person, and document any anomalies or oddities with any race.
In the hours and days following responses and shares on social media varied while some echoed and praised, others condemned and discredited the post.
Among the early responses to Rep. Lyman’s post was an inquiry for more information from Utah’s Lt. Governor, Deidre Henderson, a Republican from Spanish Fork.
In Utah, elections are administered under the Lt. Governor’s office. On Monday afternoon Henderson shared that her office had taken immediate office to track down the specific allegations and resolve the issue.
The Lt. Governors' written explanation is found below:
“The problem was a result of a small font size on one of ballot marking machines. In Wasatch County, where the complaint occurred, fewer than eight voters have used the machine in question.
Individuals who use the machines have three chances to verify and correct their ballots. Every voter who used the machine in question was able to cast a vote for their preferred candidates in the end. The county clerk has now corrected the issue by increasing the font size.
Election security is my top priority. We appreciate people who reach out in good faith directly to us or their county clerk to elevate problems or concerns so we can take swift and appropriate action when needed.”
Both Republican challengers to Incumbent Mike Lee responded to Lyman’s post.
Candidate Edwards stated:
“The right to vote is a cornerstone of our democratic republic, and Utahns should be deeply concerned, as I am, about false claims of election fraud. Extremists use this tactic in an attempt to sow seeds of doubt and ultimately dispute any result they disagree with.”
While candidate Isom shared online:
“Phil Lyman Your weekend conspiratorial texts about election security sent to Utah voters is what extreme voices do to politics. We need more straight talk from leaders, not more stunts. This further emphasizes the need for Utah to know their voice and vote matter.”
Lyman later updated his original post on Monday evening
“I was asked to adjust the tone of this post. As I looked at it, I thought the suggestion was valid. So I removed the word "urgent", and I have adjusted the picture. I also learned in the last 30 hours that it was not just the senate race that had issues, so I am removing that specific reference. Many were triggered by the suggestion that the software could be manipulated so I took that part out as well. The all-caps are typically construed as shouting, so I removed those as well. I left the post at the bottom just so people don't accuse me of being less than transparent. Thanks for the feedback.
I have had several reports from people claiming issues with their in-person vote.
Please be vigilant. Check your receipts. Vote in person. Document any anomalies or oddities with any race and PM me.
Rep. Phil Lyman”
During the past Utah legislative session, Lyman sponsored a bill entitled voting revisions. The proposed legislation proposed several voting revisions including removing voting by mail as the primary voting method in the state and replacing it with in-person voting, as well as requiring an independent post-election audit.