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Utah US District Attorney Taps Elections Officer To Field Concerns About Discrimination, Voter Fraud

Photo of voting sign.
Julia Ritchey / KUER

U.S. District Attorney for Utah John Huber is appointing an election day officer to field complaints from anyone worried about voter fraud, discrimination or intimidation at the polls.

Although elections are largely a county and state-run operation, Huber says he appoints an election officer whenever there are federal races on the ballot.

“I will have an assistant United States attorney literally sitting by his phone all day, up through of the close of the polls and one hour after that, to take calls from concerned citizens,” he said.

Huber says Utah hasn’t had any serious election problems in the past — most calls they field tend to be about technical issues, including long lines at the poll. Those are referred to the state.

“It’s a very quiet day typically for an elections officer,” he said.

President Donald Trump has used voter fraud as a political wedge after making unsubstantiated claims that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 presidential election.

Huber said he’s never prosecuted a case of voter fraud in Utah and couldn’t predict if more people would be on higher alert because of the president’s claims.

“That’s hard to predict, but we’ll take every call that comes in,” he said. “Election fraud and voting rights abuses dilute the worth of votes honestly cast. So we take these duties seriously.”

The U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division enforces federal statutes that protect the right to vote. That includes prohibiting intimidation of voters, providing accessible voting machines for those with disabilities and providing provisional ballots for voters who are not on the rolls but are eligible to vote.

Huber said anyone with a concern on election day can call Assistant U.S. Attorney Lake Dishman, the election officer this year, at 801-325-1409.


Julia joined KUER in 2016 after a year reporting at the NPR member station in Reno, Nev. During her stint, she covered battleground politics, school overcrowding, and any story that would take her to the crystal blue shores of Lake Tahoe. Her work earned her two regional Edward R. Murrow awards. Originally from the mountains of Western North Carolina, Julia graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2008 with a degree in journalism. She’s worked as both a print and radio reporter in several states and several countries — from the 2008 Beijing Olympics to Dakar, Senegal. Her curiosity about the American West led her to take a spontaneous, one-way road trip to the Great Basin, where she intends to continue preaching the gospel of community journalism, public radio and podcasting. In her spare time, you’ll find her hanging with her beagle Bodhi, taking pictures of her food and watching Patrick Swayze movies.
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