UTAH (ABC4) – We’re two-and-a-half months away from the mid-term election, and the topic of election fraud is already taking center stage in politics. Utah’s top officials are responding to the “My Pillow Guy” who claims Utah voting is fraudulent and even criminal.
Mike Lindell, also known as the “My Pillow Guy,” recently went on camera to attack Utah’s election security. At one point, he referred to Utah votes as a crime. Officials from a U.S. senator, a governor and county election workers want residents to know that the state has many layers of security in place to ensure all votes are secure and counted.
The Agilis ballot sorter is used in Weber County and many other elections offices in the Beehive State. Weber County alone has more than 120,000 registered voters. To process all the returned ballots quickly and efficiently, the elections office uses this machine to quickly verify that every ballot is official and signed by a registered voter. The machine is never connected to the internet.
“Always audit and check your technology and that’s what we do,” Weber County Clerk and Auditor Ricky Hatch told ABC4. “We audit our signature verification process, we have human eyes that backup that audit and check for any anomalies.”
After ballots (which are still in their envelopes when they run through the Agilis machine) are verified they are opened, and a separate piece of equipment is used to scan the ballot and tally the votes. This machine is never connected to the internet. As it scans the ballots, the information is recorded directly onto a thumb drive. When election workers have finished scanning a batch of ballots, the thumb drive is then connected to a server (operated by the Lt. Governor’s Office) and all the data is transferred over.
“There are always bad guys out there that are looking for ways to somehow interfere with the election process in the United States of America,” said Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) during the USC Cybersecurity Initiative workshop Thursday afternoon. He continued, “It doesn’t happen here in Utah. I’ve been given a good briefing about how our systems work here, but there will always be people who try to get in.”
The week prior to the workshop, Sen. Romney took a personal tour of the Weber County Elections Office where Ricky Hatch walked him through every step of the process.
“We work really hard to almost over audit,” Weber County Elections Director Lauren Shafer told ABC4. “Not that there is such a thing.”
Mike Lindell is using his platform to allege widespread voter fraud in Utah. He claimed people in Utah don’t actually vote, so every counted vote that comes out of the state is a crime or a fake vote.
Governor Spencer Cox took to Twitter to respond to the claims. He said, in part, “Of course, it should go without saying that this is hilariously idiotic and completely false. Sadly, it’s also dangerous.”
Lt. Governor Deidre Henderson also responded on Twitter. She tweeted, “Mike Lindell’s claims are pure garbage. On an unrelated note: I’m looking for recommendations for new pillows.”
The claims of voter fraud are a jab at election workers across the state. “We’re just your friends and neighbors,” said Shafer. “We’re just here trying to make things better for Weber County.”
“If you have any questions, come ask us,” Hatch stated. “This is our passion; we want to get it done right.”