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Letter to the Editor - Safety should come before political beliefs


Last updated 8/18/2020 at 9:51am


I have been an Election Judge in Hill County for over 20 years, so I feel as qualified as anybody to speak to the election process. Having worked with both Clerk and Recorders Diane Mellem and Sue Armstrong, I have witnessed firsthand the great length they and their staff go to ensure fair and accurate election results. Their integrity is unquestionable. If you perceive problems with the election process, I encourage you to do some further investigating instead of basing your opinion on hearsay.

I find it mind-boggling that McLean and Peterson have no trust in the advice of the election administrators that they work closely with every day. Do they just go with their gut instinct or comments heard on the street instead of detailed, factual information presented by the clerk and recorder?

Why do people suspect fraud in mail-in elections? Have they witnessed examples of fraud or obtained documented evidence of fraud? Or do they just believe the current administration of unsubstantiated allegations of fraud? I hope these people realize if they personally have a problem with mail-in ballots they can still vote in person. Many states with much larger populations than Montana have had mail-in voting for years without any problems.

Safeguards are many regarding the election process. Ballots received in the mail have the voter’s signature verified before they are counted. The first time I voted absentee my signature didn’t match the signature card I signed when I first registered to vote. I was required to fill out a new signature card in their presence before my ballot was accepted.

It is ironic that the county commissioners constantly bemoan the fact they have no money. They have declared that the 1972 signed agreement with the city, county and school for swimming pool maintenance is invalid. After years of assisting with the cost of the pool, they have stopped making payments. Because of their avowed lack of funds, additional levies have been voted for the library, airport, weed district, cemetery district and the fair. Now county residents are voting for a levy for the ambulance. Yet, they have no qualms about spending thousands of dollars needlessly to use polling places instead of mail-in ballots.

Hopefully, in the future, we can elect commissioners more concerned about the safety of their constituents than advocating for their own political beliefs.

Lowell Swenson

Election judge, Havre


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