Since Nov. 6, U.S. Rep. Mia Love has trailed Democratic challenger Ben McAdams narrowly, often by less than one percent, in an extremely close race. On Nov. 14, Love sued to halt the vote counting, trailing by 873 votes as of that evening.
Currently, that puts McAdams at a .36 percentage point lead. Utah law allows recounts when the victor wins by .25 percentage point or less. If McAdam’s position holds, the Love campaign could not get a recount.
The lawsuit claims that the Salt Lake County Clerk has allowed poll monitors to oversee the mail-in ballots but has not allowed the monitors to challenge signatures that appear different than the signatures on file.
The lawsuit argues that Love’s campaign should be allowed to verify the signatures on the ballots where poll monitors believe there is a discrepancy between the signature on the ballot and the signature on file.
McAdams replied in a tweet on Nov. 14, saying, “It is the job of election officials to decide what votes count, not political candidates.”
Love campaign attorney Robert Harrington released a statement in which he maintained that they were not accusing anything, but that they wanted to improve the election process.
This isn’t the first lawsuit the clerk’s office has seen during this election. According to the Associated Press, two days before election day, Republican candidates accused County Clerk Sherrie Swenson of failing to mail out thousands of ballots to Salt Lake County in enough time. The case got one hearing but was eventually tossed.
There was only one lawsuit filed, in Salt Lake County which leans Democratic, while there was no suit filed in the Republican-leaning Sanpete, Juab and Utah counties.
Update: On Nov. 16, a judge tossed the lawsuit, stating that the Love campaign failed to name a statute, rule or previous case that would entitle them to the legal ground for the suit. Harrington released a statement saying while the campaign disagreed with the ruling, they appreciated the court’s attention to the matter.