County elections delves into ballot rejection process

Missoulian,  December 1, 2017

The May special election to find Montana’s new congressional representative just keeps coming back into play.

Tuesday, Missoula County Elections Administrator Rebecca Connors told the County Commission about her office’s survey into their handling of rejected ballots.

MT Secretary of State Corey Stapleton’s request for the surveys came after an email exchange between him and Connors that was made public after the commissioners decided to respond. In the emails, Stapleton accused Missoula County of not taking voter fraud seriously and asked “why 91 illegal signatures on mail ballots are once again going to be silently set aside on the shelf of indifference.”

Bradley Seaman, Connors’ deputy and Carol Bellin, vice chair of the Elections Advisory Committee led the survey, attempting to track down all 91 people who turned in rejected ballots.

They asked the people what led to the circumstances that led to rejection (signing the wrong envelope, turning a ballot in late, etc.) and how/if the elections office could have helped them turn it in correctly.

Of those ballots, 35 came in after the election, 39 had a mismatched signature and 13 had no signature at all. The remaining four were rejected for voters not having an ID and a voter had died.

More than a few commented they knew they could fix their ballot, but decided it wasn’t worth the effort after the election ended, even though the office can fix them until one day after the election.

By PETER FRIESEN peter.friesen@missoulian.com

Read the full article...

Close