SALT LAKE CITY — Utah had to send its Electoral College votes to Congress with a substitute elector on Monday after Attorney General Sean Reyes became unable to participate.
Reyes was supposed to serve as one of Utah’s six electors, casting votes with the Electoral College. That body voted Monday, per its constitutional obligations, to formally elect Joe Biden to the presidency.
Read more: How does the Electoral College work?
According to Reyes’ chief of staff, Ric Cantrell, Reyes needed to quarantine after possible exposure to COVID-19.
Over the last several weeks, Reyes has traveled to Arizona and to Washington, D.C. However, Cantrell says the exposure is not related to Reyes’ visit to D.C., to attend a luncheon at the White House. Cantrell did not say whether the exposure came from a different segment of Reyes’ travels.
Former Utah Rep. Mia Love, also a Republican, replaced Reyes as elector. Utah’s political parties choose their prospective electors during their state conventions; they chose Love to replace Reyes because she came in 7th place at the convention for the role.
Each state appoints the same amount of electors as it has in its congressional delegation.
Love took Reyes’ place with the remaining five electors at the Utah State Capitol on Monday. Wearing masks and maintaining social distance, they each signed a ballot for president and another for vice president, as specified under the 12th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The ballots go to the president of the U.S. Senate, Vice-President Mike Pence, to count in a joint session of Congress in January.
Utah law requires its electors to cast their ballots for the winner of the popular vote for president in the state. Under state law, choosing a different candidate would be considered a resignation on the part of the elector.
Reyes was the only elector who could not participate and was replaced with a substitute. Washington County GOP Chairman Jimi Kestin, former Box Elder County Commission candidate Kris Udy, former congressional candidate Trent Christensen, former House Speaker Greg Hughes and former state lawmaker Chris Herrod served as the remaining electors with Love.
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