Reyes participation in Texas lawsuit is embarrassment to Utah

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes


Reyes participation in Texas lawsuit is embarrassment to Utah




Utah Atty. Gen. Sean Reyes should focus on enforcing the law here in Utah and keep national politics out of the Attorney General’s Office.

His participation as a friend of the court in a lawsuit filed by the state of Texas to invalidate the presidential vote in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia, is an embarrassment to the state of Utah.

Thank you Gov. Gary Herbert and Gov.-Elect Spencer Cox, who promptly responded with the following: “The attorney general did not consult us by signing on to this brief, so we don’t know what his motivation is. Just as we would not want other states challenging Utah’s election results, we do not think we should intervene in other states’ elections.

“Candidates who wish to challenge election results have access to the courts without our involvement. This is an unwise use of taxpayer money.”

We were also relieved and gratified that none of our  Republican members of Congress from Utah joined the 127 House Republicans in filing a brief in support of the lawsuit, which can only be characterized as an appalling attempt to throw away 19 million votes and grant Donald Trump a second term, even though he lost in the Electoral College and lost the popular vote by 7 million.

Imagine if the shoe had been on the other foot, if Donald Trump had won the election, yet Joe Biden had lined up attorneys general in blue states to file a lawsuit to throw out votes in selected red states, including Utah. We at the Sanpete Messenger would be bellowing just as loudly at such an outrage.

The Texas lawsuit claimed that various types of accommodations the four states made to facilitate voting during the pandemic were a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

For example, Michigan permitted any citizen to apply online or by mail for an absentee ballot and vote by mail, even if they would be in Michigan on Election Day. Georgia offered virtually the same option, except it used the term “mail in ballot” rather than an absentee ballot. Both states also offered in-person voting at polling places on Election Day.

Utah used an even more permissive system where a mail ballot was sent to every registered voter. Nobody even had to request one. Voters also had the option of voting in person at their county clerk’s office, or in larger counties, they could vote at scores of polling locations for a couple of weeks before the election and right up to 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Yet nobody has filed suit to overturn our Utah election system. That’s because the intent of the lawsuit wasn’t to throw out unfair state election laws. The idea was to get the Supreme Court to order electoral voting in Michigan Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia to be delayed pending the outcome of the case.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit hoped there would be dress-down hearing before the Supreme Court, with Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, arguing for striking down the state laws.

If the court had bought the Texas argument, the votes in the four states simply would not have counted, and the election would have been decided based on the rest of the states and territories. With the 19 million votes in the four states (including votes for both Biden and Trump) tossed out, Trump would have won.

Problem is the U.S. Constitution gives states the power to administer elections. The Supreme Court unanimously decided, “We don’t need to hear this,” and issued a one-sentence response:

“The State of Texas’s motion…is denied for lack of standing under Article III of the Constitution. Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another state conducts its elections.”

We’re gratified and relieved that the Supreme Court stood up for democracy. Nevertheless, the fact that such an outlandish action could draw the support it did, including from Utah’s attorney general, is frightening.

As Steve Schmidt of Park City, co-founder of the Lincoln Project, who worked for the George W. Bush and John McCain campaigns put it:

“Our system requires both sides in the competition of ideas that’s decided in elections…to be willing to loose an election. And if you have one side that is no longer willing to loose an election, and won’t represent the popular will of the American people, then what you have on American soil is an autocratic political party.”

We hope and pray the venerable Republican Party in this country will come to its collective senses and not allow that to happen.