Prosecutors in Utah have filed felony charges against a former county clerk over allegations she has been illegally shredding and mishandling ballots in both the 2020 and 2022 election cycles.
Alaina Lofgran, including three felonies and other counts related to the alleged mishandling and shredding of ballots from both the 2020 and 2022 elections.
Lofgran served as the Juab County Clerk/Auditor from 2015 until this year.
According to the Associated Press, she is accused of allowing the shredding of ballots shortly after the 2022 election.
The law mandates preserving them for at least 22 months to aid potential recounts.
In addition, prosecutors allege that she illegally stored the 2020 election ballots.
The ballots were found in a basement storage room that is accessible to multiple county employees and easily visible.
The move was contrary to the state law which requires the ballots to be securely locked away.
“These charges are serious and reflect the heavy responsibility of county clerks to uphold election law,” Republican Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson said in a statement, per Fox 13.
“Public trust demands accountability of those who swear oaths to fulfill their duties with fidelity and then fail to do so.”
— Utah News Tweets (@Utah_Newspapers) November 3, 2023
The charges follow a 2022 lawsuit against Juab County and other Utah counties seeking records from the 2020 election, the AP added.
During the lawsuit, a state judge had instructed Lofgran to preserve records from the 2020 election.
The alleged incidents came to light when a witness claimed to have seen Lofgran placing the 2022 ballots in a “shred bin” soon after the election.
The bin was hidden inside a closet near the clerk’s office.
Although these ballots needed to be taken out of the shred bin for potential recounts, a deputy clerk allegedly observed Lofgran returning them to the bin later.
“The election reports were done, and we don’t need them anymore,” Lofgran allegedly said.
Despite being aware of the court order to preserve the 2020 records due to the pending lawsuit, investigators reported that none of the 4,795 ballots cast in the 2022 general election were found during a search of the county offices and the basement room.
Only a portion of the 5,932 ballots from the 2020 general election were found during the search in March, the outlet further reported.
Lofgran faces several charges for election crimes.
The charges include willful neglect of duty, destroying or concealing ballots, and destroying public records.
All of the charges are felonies.
She is also charged with two counts of improper ballot disposition and two counts of unofficial misconduct, which are misdemeanors.