KGVO spoke to Missoula area legislator Brad Tschida this week, after former President Donald Trump mentioned an election in Montana in which he questioned mail-in ballots.

On Wednesday, Missoula County Elections Administrator Bradley Seaman provided his response.

“We take allegations of voter fraud very seriously, and we went through the last election with Montana code annotated and administrative rule guidelines,” said Seaman. “We kept all of our envelopes documentation, as well as verified reports, and the election was certified both here and at the state level. And you know, all of those processes were open to the public in the records requests. They (Tschida) did have an inaccurate count to those records and those allegations are very serious.”

Seaman said Tschida and others who challenged the election erred in their records requests.

“There's a clear process under Montana Code Annotated in Title 13 chapter 36 to challenge the election, and we welcome that challenge because that would have them bring this challenge to a court of law, and would really clarify that there is no merit behind these allegations,” he said. “It's truly just an error with the records request.”

Tschida alleged in the previous story that a number of voters should have been dropped from the rolls before the November 2020 election.

‘We found out that 10,712 ballots went out to individuals who haven't voted in two election cycles,” Tschida said. “They were sent mail in ballot for the 2020 election. And they should have been taken off the voter rolls as of the end of the 2018 election because if you missed two cycles, then you're automatically excluded. So the county did not do its job. The elections office did not do its job to remove those folks from the voter rolls who should have been taken off.’

Seaman responded.

“There is a national Voter Registration Act which requires election officials to send multiple notices to voters before removing them,” he said. “And then there are other actions like changing an address or requesting an absentee ballot, which could cause a voter to be removed from the process of list maintenance. Without the specifics, we couldn't really comment on what they're looking at, but we'd be happy to educate them on the process that's utilized in Montana.”

Townsquare Media radio host Aaron Flint recently spoke to Montana Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen specifically about the recent stories about the Missoula election, and Jacobsen said steps are being considered to increase voter confidence in the system.

“Some of the concepts include audio and visual recordings of the time that people start opening the ballots and counting,” said Secretary Jacobsen. “And this would be a measure that would protect anybody that's involved in the election process and make it more transparent. Now that we have security cameras everywhere, I think it would make sense to have them when we are counting the votes and opening ballots and processing ballots, and I think that would be a best practice that we can look at implementing for the midterm election.”

Jacobsen also suggested that the process could be live-streamed on Election Night.

 

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