Democrats want Swallow’s election scrubbed

Posted at 5:31 PM, Nov 26, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-26 19:31:18-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah Democratic Party claims the election of Utah Attorney General John Swallow was fraudulent, so they want a judge to wipe his election from the books.

At a news conference Tuesday, leaders of the state's minority party insisted Swallow was never attorney general.

"John Swallow was not in office. He cheated," said Jim Dabakis, a state senator and chairman of the Utah Democratic Party.

They urged the Lt. Governor, who recently received a report finding Swallow violated state election laws, to invalidate the election and allow for a special election to take place as soon as possible for voters to pick a replacement. It would negate plans for the Utah Republican Party to select nominees for the governor to pick a replacement.

"Because he cheated, he was never officially and legally in office," Dabakis told FOX 13. "Therefore, the governor and the central committee doesn't have the right to appoint (a candidate)."

Utah election law says that if an executive member resigns mid-term "for any reason," a political party's central committee gives three names to the governor, who chooses one to full in until the next election. Joe Hatch, the legal counsel to the Utah Democratic Party, claims the statute does not apply in this case.

"He committed a fraud on the Utah voters, and his election... it is under the statute, void as if it did not occur," Hatch said.

The Utah Republican Party said it would continue forward, regardless of the Democrats' claims.

"The comments made by the Democratic Party at this point are merely speculation," Utah Republican Party Chairman James Evans said in a statement to FOX 13. "Absent any court action, we will proceed with the replacement process as defined within the law at our special State Central Committee Meeting on December 14th and nominate three names to the Governor."

Democrats said they wanted a special election set as soon as possible for voters to choose. Hatch said that if the Lt. Governor does not ask a judge to invalidate the election -- they may go to court to get a judge to do it, anyway.