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Phil Lyman sues Utah’s Lieutenant Governor Henderson over voter data in 2024 primary election
Phil Lyman sues Utah’s Lieutenant Governor Henderson over voter data in 2024 primary election

Before last month’s gubernatorial primary, Utah Republican Party candidate Phil Lyman expressed doubts about whether he would accept the outcome of Utah’s vote, claiming without evidence that Lieutenant Governor Deidre Henderson had engaged in “election rigging.” While votes have been counted for nearly two weeks since polls closed on June 25, Lyman and his running mate Natalie Clawson are still trailing incumbent Governor Spencer Cox and Henderson by nearly 10 percentage points.

Now Lyman and Clawson are suing for access to the signature packets that the Cox/Henderson campaign team used to get their names on the Republican ballots. In the lawsuit, they claim that Henderson, in her capacity as lieutenant governor, did not “make the necessary balancing of interests” to disclose the private information contained in these signature packets.

They said the results of a public records request for the signature packets were returned heavily redacted by Henderson’s office.

“Due to overriding concerns about election transparency and integrity, the (Lieutenant Governor’s) office must be required to disclose unredacted nomination petitions, signature packets, and other voter registration information in sufficient detail to enable plaintiffs to evaluate, verify, and/or challenge the signatures…” Lyman and Clawson say in their lawsuit, filed July 3 in Utah’s 3rd District Court.

The couple are listed as plaintiffs, along with Lyman’s campaign team. Henderson and Utah Elections Director Ryan Cowley, both in their capacity as the state’s top election officials, and Mallory Underwood, in her official capacity as an administrator in Henderson’s office, are listed as defendants.

Lyman and Clawson are asking a judge to order the defendants to give them access to those signature packets, including information that voters requested be kept secret.

Shortly after the election, when it was clear that Lyman was likely to lose, Lyman questioned the signatures collected by the Cox/Henderson campaign — which had been reviewed by Davis County Clerk Brian McKenzie — because some signatures collected by the same firm Cox used in that year’s election had been invalidated in another race for a state House seat.

“Utah’s citizens are being lied to” and the election was not unbiased, Lyman said in a half-hour video he posted on social media days after the election. He also called Cox a “weasel.”

Late on election night, unofficial results from all 29 Utah counties showed Cox leading with 56.57% of the vote to Lyman’s 41.01%. As of Friday, Cox’s lead was still nearly 10 percentage points, 54.45% to 45.55%.

On July 3, Utah Lieutenant Governor Deidre Henderson ordered county officials to deny any public access to records related to the 2024 primary election.

“We always believe that in the end the truth will prevail, and we proved that again tonight,” Cox said at his election party.

A spokesman for Henderson said the office would not comment on pending litigation.

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By Isla