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Montana Counties and Candidates Prepare for Recount

Photo courtesy of The UpTake/Flickr

A recount in Montana’s extremely close Superintendent of Public Instruction race hasn’t officially been requested, but it appears counties and candidates are already preparing for the process.

On Friday Nov. 30, Republican canddate Sandy Welch’s campaign attorney Chris Gallus sent a letter to the Secretary of State’s office. Gallus’ letter covers a variety of issues surrounding the recount process, including the way in which the canvassed results were sent to the Secretary of State’s office. “All returns were not received in a manner consistent with the requirements of Mont. Code Ann. § 13-15-501(2),” writes Gallus, noting that one unnamed county failed to send canvass results by certified mail and used a fax instead.

Gallus’ letter also stresses the importance of making the inevitable recount public. “While I understand the need for planning,” writes Gallus, speaking of correspondence that has already occurred between many counties and the Secretary of State’s office, “it is not readily apparent from those emails that each of the legal requirements is being fulfilled. For example, some counties on the sheets provided plan to meet as soon as December 4, 2012 to conduct the canvass.”

Gallus points out that a December 4 recount occurring only one day after the official December 3 recount request would leave little time to inform the public.  “Each candidate is entitled to appear, personally or by representative and have the opportunity to full witness the entire process. Public, media and candidate participation requires adequate notification. Some counties appear ready to complete the counting in one day using employees. To fully participate and observe each candidate needs to know what the process will be and how many representatives are necessary.”

It is still uncertain whether the recount will take into consideration all counties or only a few. When the official recount is requested on Monday, there will be more clarification.


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