Missoula Elections Office “Incompetent…Derelict” Integrity Group 52-Page Report to SoS, AG Alleges

The Missoula County Election Integrity Project released a 52-page report Tuesday documenting “a pattern of irregularities” in the Missoula County 2020 General Election and “troubling issues” found in a study of the Missoula County voter registration database.

The report was sent to County Attorney Kirsten Pabst and Montana Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen and Attorney General Austin Knudsen.

The election integrity group’s lawyer, Quentin Rhoades, shared a letter sent with the report that mentions that the group relied on public voting records obtained from the Secretary of State’s office, a hand-count of ballot signature envelopes supervised by the Missoula County Elections Office in January, and public records requests and media reports to compile their report.

The report findings point to inflated voter registration rolls for Missoula County and poor or “derelict” maintenance of the voter registration database.

“The outcome of the investigation suggests strongly that the Elections Office either suffers from fundamental incompetence or has been derelict in its duties to maintain up to date and accurate voter rolls and electronic records,” Rhoades said in a letter to the SoS, AG, and County Attorney.

“At best, the Elections Office has not performed well as a steward of the voter rolls,” Rhoades shared. “Whether accidentally or on purpose, the result is padding of invalid voter registration, providing ample room for mischief by wrong-doers and doubt in the public as to election integrity.”

House Rep. Brad Tschida (HD-97), who is one of four named report authors, told Missoula County Tyranny, “The Missoula County Election Integrity Project (MCEIP) has discovered numerous examples of irregularities as it pertains to voter eligibility and the condition of the voter rolls in Missoula County.”

The MCEIP found “thousands of ballots” mailed to ineligible voters and nearly 6,000 ballots mailed to voters that were undeliverable in previous elections. In addition, the report points to over-printing of ballots in precincts around the county (in some cases by a factor of 5), and a lack of transparency regarding public resolution logs that were sealed inside a ballot box.

The resolution logs detail the reasons why members of the election Resolution Board decided voter intent for 2,610 ballots. According to the elections department, reasons why a ballot would go to a Resolution Board include the voter marking more than one candidate in a race or the machine not being able to read the marking on the ballot. In order to review the public logs, the elections office told the group they would need to “get a court order.”

“It is evident from their findings that Missoula County Elections Office either lacks sufficient competency or training to do their job effectively, or they are not being held accountable to acceptable levels of quality performance,” Tschida stated.

The Missoula County Election Integrity Project first made national headlines in March when investigative journalist John R. Lott Jr. filed his report on a count of ballot signature envelopes performed in Missoula in January.

Envelope counters found 4,592 envelopes fewer than the total number of ballots cast and dozens of duplicate signatures from Hillside nursing home in Missoula. Missoula’s all mail-in ballot election made it unlikely that a ballot without a matching signature envelope could be submitted. If a ballot does not have a matching signature envelope, the voter’s existence and eligibility cannot be verified under Montana Code.

Missoula County Elections Administrator, Bradley Seaman

When confronted with the discrepancy, Missoula County Elections Administrator Bradley Seaman appeared very nervous and had no explanation, Lott wrote. Seaman has not provided an accounting for the 4,592 missing ballot signature envelopes and has told the election integrity group they would need to obtain a court order to investigate public records further.

At an election integrity event in September hosted in Missoula by the Montana Election Integrity Project, analyst Seth Keshel pointed to 46,000 excess votes counted across Montana with an estimated 6,000 excess votes in Missoula County alone.

The election integrity group also reports that Missoula County Elections likely violated election records retention requirements when they erased video recording of the November 3, 2020 ballot counts.

Despite the group being told by Seaman that video of the tabulation was available, the elections office said later that the video had come “past the retention schedule” and was no longer available. Federal law requires that election-related records be kept for a period of at least 22-months.

The local media has characterized the group as “GOP-backed,” but the election integrity group’s attorney pushed back on that characterization saying that the group was not affiliated with any political party. “The Integrity Project consists exclusively of local volunteers who all serve or have served on a pro bono publico basis. It is not affiliated with any political party, non-profit, organization, or for-profit corporate entity or large donors,” Rhoades said.

The group’s attorney’s letter:


The synthesis report:


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