The Saga Continues..MORE Missoula County Election Madness

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During last year’s citizen-led count of affirmation envelopes, county elections officials provided the Missoula County Election Integrity Project with 31 boxes of envelopes for the 2020 Election. During last week’s count, the County produced 33 boxes of envelopes.

Last Wednesday, the Missoula County Republican Central Committee circulated an email to their membership reporting that an additional count of “affirmation envelopes from the 2020 election that were contained in 33 numbered boxes” had cleared up a discrepancy discovered last January by the Missoula County Election Integrity Project (MCEIP). The citizen-led MCEIP discovered in January of 2021 that 4,592 mail-in ballot envelopes (or affirmation envelopes) were missing, a number representing over 6% of the total recorded votes in the County.

State law says that without an affirmation envelope, a voter’s signature and eligibility cannot be determined, and the vote must be discarded. According to the findings, the ballots with missing affirmation envelopes were counted anyway.

The recent all-clear provided by the local Republican party chair, Vondene Kopetski, provided a new glaring variance, however. 33 boxes of envelopes represent a discrepancy of two additional boxes of affirmation envelopes as compared to the number of boxes provided by elections officials during the count made by the MCEIP last January.

On January 4th, 2021, the Missoula County Election Office produced 31 sealed boxes of affirmation envelopes to the MCEIP pursuant to a request made under Montana’s “right to know” law. The County had an obligation to and claimed that it did produce all the boxes of affirmation envelopes it had in its custody per Montana election regulations. The MCEIP’s January 4th, 2021, the count revealed that the County Election Office had tallied 4,592 more votes than the number of envelopes it received in the all mail-in election. The troubling result raised concerns over the integrity of the 2020 vote count.

In an affidavit, Lyn Hellegaard, who served as the supervisor of the MCEIP team of citizen volunteers who counted the signature envelopes on January 4th, 2021, stated that election officials produced 31 boxes of envelopes for the January 2021 count.

In a count commissioned by the Missoula County Republicans and conducted last week by County Election Office staff, the Elections Office produced a total of 33 numbered boxes of affirmation envelopes, two more than the County produced on January 4th, 2021. Last week’s count resulted in 71 fewer envelopes than votes tallied on election night, while the January 2021 count resulted in 4,592 fewer envelopes than votes tallied.

You can read the rest of the story here by Roy McKenzie of FreeMissoulaNews.




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