Election monitoring group says they've found ballot errors in Cascade County
Cascade County Election Protection Committee organizer Jane Weber told MTPR some voters were turned away from ExpoPark at the Great Falls fairgrounds Tuesday. Weber said the facility has historically served as a ballot drop-off location for all-mail municipal elections.
That’s not the case this year. Cascade County clerk and recorder Sandra Merchant says voters seeking to drop off ballots or register to vote need to go to the county elections office at the courthouse annex.
Weber says the election monitoring group has found duplicate ballots, voters outside of city limits receiving ballots in the mail and some registered voters not receiving one at all. The group and Great Falls Public Schools trustees are pushing for county commissioners to remove election duties from Merchant’s office.
“We are seeing repeat, repeat, repeat errors — same kinds of errors that we’ve seen in every single election, and I believe that we will continue to pressure the county commissioners to bring that ordinance before the public,” Weber said.
Merchant said in a press release last week that her office was aware of some duplicate ballots. She said it was a printer error, and the ballots wouldn’t be double-counted.
Merchant’s first election in May prompted a lawsuit from candidates in an irrigation district election. The candidates allege that results from the election are unreliable due to mistakes on the ballot and in ballot distribution. That case is still pending before a Cascade County judge.
Commissioners unanimously selected former Great Falls Association of Realtors CEO Terry Thompson to manage Cascade County’s elections.
The Cascade County Commission has unanimously appointed a new interim elections administrator after stripping the duties from the county’s clerk and recorder in December.
One of Montana’s largest counties is still without someone to lead its elections one week after its previous administrator lost her duties.
The Cascade County Commission voted Tuesday to remove election duties from the clerk and recorders office.
Cascade County commissioners are scheduled to vote on whether to remove election duties from the clerk and recorder’s office. The move to strip the duties from the office comes after a year of lawsuits and allegations of misconduct directed at the current election administrator.
Cascade County commissioners unanimously certified municipal election results Wednesday, more than a week after a state-imposed deadline.