Montana Public Radio

'Little Old Ladies' Across Montana Keep Elections Running Smoothly

Nov 6, 2018

It takes thousands of people to make sure Montana’s elections run smoothly. Shaylee Ragar was at the polls in Basin earlier today, where she spoke with Karen Davidson, a self-proclaimed 70-year-old “little old lady” who’s been volunteering as an election official for the past eight years or so.

Karen Davidson: In that time I have never seen or had anyone try to do voter fraud, and I resent the implication by the Secretary of State Corey Stapleton that voter fraud is rampant in Montana. There are a thousand little old ladies like me who come for every election to see that your vote is counted, that you vote properly and that we keep on this voting tradition in Montana of fair, legal and correct elections.

Shaylee Ragar: And why are you an election official?

KD: Because I believe that voting is important. If you've ever gone to a third-world country and looked at how their elections worked and people stand in line for days to vote, they die to vote, and we don't do that here. We don't appreciate what we have here and we really need to vote.

SR: What is unique about a small town like this when it comes to voting?

KD: This election's been a little unique in that we have had higher turnout. Now that the absentees are in, we don't have that many people come out but it's a neat chance for me to see people I have no idea who they are or when they moved here. It makes us a community.

SR: What do you do when you're not an election official?

KD: I'm a retired little old lady.

Shaylee Ragar spoke with election official Karen Davidson in Basin, MT earlier today.

Find live results for Montana's races here starting once the polls close at 8 p.m. And tune in on your radio or online for NPR's special election coverage from Montana and around the country, starting at 6 p.m.