A Utah legislative committee on Wednesday shot down requests for an audit of the 2020 election from supporters of former president Donald Trump, who won the Republican-dominated state handily.
"A much-hyped hearing on 'election integrity' mostly fizzled out on Wednesday afternoon, as Utahns who want lawmakers to approve an audit of the 2020 election in Utah packed a hearing room in the Utah State Capitol, but walked away wanting," the Salt Lake Tribune reports. "Any hopes of an audit springing from the hearing were dashed early as Rep. Karianne Lisonbee, R-Layton, the House chair of the committee, threw cold water on the idea."
"We cannot call for an audit. We're here to discuss safe and secure elections and legislative ideas for that," Lisonbee said, adding that some Utah lawmakers are working on legislation related to an audit, but it's unlikely to be considered before the 2022 general session.
About 200 pro-Trump protesters gathered outside with flags and homemade signs — chatting among themselves and trading conspiracy theories, the Tribune reports. The committee heard more than an hour of public comment — "much of it focused on distrust of election results and calls for an independent audit."
"Some commenters referenced conspiracy theories about election results being altered by outside entities including the Chinese Communist Party," the newspaper reports.
In addition to the protesters, those pushing for an audit include GOP state Reps. Steve Christiansen and Phil Lyman. Christiansen visited the partisan Cyber Ninjas audit in Arizona in June, and both he and Lyman later attended a symposium put on by MyPIllow CEO MIke Lindell.
The Tribune reports that Christiansen and Lyman are using their political offices in an effort to obtain the personal information of thousands of voters, including those who've specifically asked to keep their addresses, phone numbers and email addresses private.
"Christiansen said several times on Wednesday that his request was denied by the elections office, suggesting the data was being withheld from him illegally, but he refused to elaborate," the Tribune reports. "In his request, Christiansen cited a state law that gives access to that private voter data to government officials or employees who are acting in an official capacity. But, he said the purpose of his request was 'to analyze for political purposes.' A state official cannot mix their official duties with political activities, which is the reason why his request was denied, a fact Christiansen conveniently omitted from his answers. ... In the end, the committee took no action on any audit-related issues. When it became clear the event would not lead to the conclusion they were hoping for, Christiansen and Lyman quickly left." '