Utah County Clerk/Auditor Special Election

by John Mulholland

The vacant Utah County Clerk/Auditor position will be voted on by the Utah County Republican Party starting Thursday, May 27, and ending Saturday, May 29. More information can be found at https://www.ucrp.org/2021-utah-county-clerk-special-election/

Josh Daniels

Josh Daniels has served as the Clerk / Auditor Chief Deputy for the last 2 ½ years under the previous Clerk / Auditor. As an office, they have accomplished great things, especially with voting. Josh said that there were 6 hour wait times in 2018 and it was less than 30 minutes in 2020. The office went from ballots traveling between 6 locations to all be handled in one, with security cameras and windows to add more transparency. When asked what his role was in this, he said that he supervised the election director and made many major decisions.

In order to save money, Josh created an eBay account and bought used equipment such as letter opening machines and hand scanners, saving the taxpayers a lot of money. With Josh’s legal background he was able to help the county get out of a 10-year contract with Dominion that the previous clerk/auditor had agreed to at the end of his term.

Many things have changed on the financial and auditor’s side. They have performance-based budgets and key performance indicators with data dashboards to check progress. Many things, like accounts payable, have been automated, and you can even use a credit card, usually paying your own merchant fees.

When asked what Josh would do differently he indicated he may change a few things but wants to continue to use the same process. People should question the process to determine if it is still the best or not. What is the root cause of a problem?

Josh did say the auditor’s budget did increase but that was because certain tasks weren’t able to get done given staffing and one overworked lady had her job split into multiple ones.

When asked if the office should split into a clerk and an auditor, he said that it would cost about $500k more and currently you gain a lot through economies of scale with the combined office.

Wendy Hart

Wendy has previously served 8 years on the Alpine District School Board and was on the budget/audit committee. She finds the clerk and auditor roles to be a bit different but something she is very interested in. One of the things she felt she accomplished on the school board was smoothing things over with people during the ebbs and flows of drama. Wendy also has a BS in Mathematics.

Wendy has run her own business for 20 years, migrating databases for clients. This job takes a lot of investigation to understand the format the data is currently in and the best format for the new database. Data privacy is also a big concern. She has also spent 10 years in management after being a project manager.

Wendy believes that if you look at something from a different perspective, you change the trajectory of it. One of her goals is to make the results of audits more readable by the general public. She would like to add more audits to election results to make sure they are correct. Wendy was not currently aware of any added cost.

She would also like the state law changed from “shall administer an election primarily by mail” to “may administer an election primarily by mail”. This would allow cities greater flexibility while administering their own elections, maintaining a separation of powers.

Utah County Commissioner Greg Graves

Greg Graves

Greg said that his wife told him he still had more to give and should run again. He previously served as county commissioner for one term. His term was rocky and included allegations of sexual harassment, intimidation, and bullying. He then sued the county to clear his name. Because Commissioner Ivie and Commissioner Lee wouldn’t settle, a lawsuit was his only option. He insisted that he didn’t lose the case as it is still in appeals.

His last election created some drama. After he won the primary, at the convention, some unsettling details came out about some criminal charges. There was a motion to do a vote of no confidence, which failed. While in office he was found to have been on the notorious Ashley Madison website.

Greg said he has a background in finance and was known as a budget hawk. He said that he knows how to utilize the strengths of others

Greg said he was disgusted by how the government responded to covid-19. He saw mask mandates as a power grab. He also said there was a right way to make changes, but wasn’t directed at any particular person. Greg said he would start by assessing every employee and see if they should stay.

Despite saying a tax increase was needed, he did help Julie Blaney fight against it. He does want to see an audit on it to ensure that everything was done fairly. Greg insisted that the budget never ran a deficit while in office. They just took from reserves. While speaking about the attorney’s office’s large budget increase, he didn’t understand why they would need more lawyers when 95% of the cases don’t go to court. He said that the support staff does the work for those cases. He also said the audit office had doubled but didn’t know why.

Jason Christensen

Jason said he was running to give people an option. He is well known for running for many offices, usually part of another party. He was recently the state chair of the Independent American Party. Jason said we are beyond the point of no return both economically and morally and “It will take revolutionary actions to right the ship.”

He insisted we need to get back to following the Constitution. We need to only have a marriage between a man and a woman. He wouldn’t grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. He said that is following the law and doesn’t think it would cost taxpayers much to defend it.

Jason also said the auditor’s office had doubled. He insisted that property tax was both illegal and unconstitutional because the government should protect property, not take it. He said that as Clerk he would let people hold onto their property, even if the county took a financial hit.

Elections are his third important topic. Paper ballots in person only. When asked how those serving in the military should vote, he didn’t know. He wanted to see how they did it back in the days of the founding fathers. Regarding voting during the pandemic, he strongly insisted that it never reached the threshold of being a pandemic, it was created by the elites who were manipulating everything, and could easily be treated with HCQ. When asked whether people should have to risk their lives to vote in person he didn’t answer. When asked several more times, he hung up.

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