PROVO — At least some unaffiliated voters in Utah County were accidentally sent ballots intended to only go to registered GOP voters.
Utah County Clerk Bryan Thompson confirmed late Wednesday that he and his colleagues were seeking to determine how many of the incorrect ballots were sent and had already informed the Utah Lieutenant Governor’s Office, which oversees Utah elections, of the problem.
Thompson said his office was doing due diligence and trying to determine the scope of the problem.
“We're looking to determine that first thing in the morning and we'll go ahead and address the situation,” he told the Deseret News.
Thompson said a clerical error was responsible for at least some unaffiliated voters receiving Republican ballots in addition to nonpartisan ones for municipal races.
His office learned of the problem late Wednesday when someone called to report it, he said. Thompson said the campaigns were notified not long afterward.
His office plans to contact unaffiliated voters who received the double ballots. The next step would be to ask anyone who got the incorrect ballots if they would like to affiliate as Republicans. Those unaffiliated voters who decline the offer, Thompson said, won’t be able to vote in the primary election to replace former 3rd District Congressman Jason Chaffetz, who resigned.
“There will be openness and transparency,” as his office seeks to address the issue, he said.
Michael McCarlie, campaign manager for candidate Tanner Ainge, said, “This is obviously a Republican primary and we want to make sure it’s Republicans who choose their nominee.”
McCarlie said he was notified Wednesday evening. He said the apparent oversight didn’t give him concerns about the validity of the coming 3rd District election results.
“I think we should let them say what the solution is and get to the bottom of it, “ McCarlie said.
Attempts to reach members of the John Curtis and Chris Herrod campaigns late Wednesday were unsuccessful.
State Elections Director Mark Thomas said his office is aware of the problem.
"It appears the county mistakenly included the Republican primary race on the ballots sent to unaffiliated voters. Our office is working closely with their office and will determine how to best proceed as quickly as possible," he said.
Contributing: Lisa Riley Roche