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Judge hears arguments for Rep. Mia Love’s lawsuit against Salt Lake County Clerk

Posted at 10:14 PM, Nov 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-16 00:14:05-05

WEST JORDAN — The battle between Republican incumbent Mia Love and Democratic challenger Ben McAdams for Utah’s 4th Congressional district seat is now in a courtroom.

Thursday afternoon, State Judge James Gardner heard arguments after Congresswoman Love and her campaign filed a petition to stop Salt Lake County from counting ballots that require additional signature verification.

Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen said 3,136 ballots in Salt Lake County require additional verification. So far 878 affidavits have been returned and verified, leaving 2,258 that are still in limbo.

The verification comes in the form of a signed affidavit, also known as a cure letter.

Attorneys for Love argued the affidavit violates state election code because it doesn’t require voters to provide their social security number of driver license number.

“There’s a clear violation of election code,” said Bobby Harrington, an attorney representing Love’s campaign.

But the deputy district attorney representing Swensen said the clerk goes above and beyond in making sure all ballots are legitimate by using a three-part process that uses personal information in the state’s election system.

Swensen said Salt Lake County’s affidavit is similar to the one used in Utah County, in that both do not ask for a person’s driver license or social security number.

Representatives for Ben McAdams said this is an attempt by Love’s campaign to single out Salt Lake County voters.

“This is a thinly veiled attempt by Congresswoman Love to disenfranchise voters of Salt Lake County and only voters of Salt Lake County,” said Andrew Roberts, the campaign manager for McAdams. “Voters in the 4th district and Utah should be deeply disturbed by this.”

After more than 90 minutes hearing from both sides, Judge Gardner said he would take the arguments under advisement. He is expected to issue a written ruling, but there is no timetable as to when that will be released.

Swensen said the election results are due by Tuesday, November 20.