What would it look like if Sandra Merchant just came clean about what she really is up to. Maybe something like this.
WTF406: Thank you for sitting down to talk with us Sandra.
Merchant: No problem. You know, I generally avoid the media, but it seems there is a lot of misunderstanding about what’s happening in my office that I would like to clear up.
WTF406: Well, why don’t you just charge right in?
Merchant: Okay and thank you. Let’s start at the beginning. Everyone knows that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump. That’s the big reason I decided to run for Clerk and Recorder. I wanted to do something about that.
WTF406: You know that most people don’t believe that, and there is almost no evidence to support that claim.
Merchant: That’s what the woke media wants you to think. Truth is it was stolen using Dominion voting machines, which have secret transmitters in them which enables the Deep State to change votes. We need to get back to the way it used to be. Count them by hand.
WTF406: Wouldn’t that take a long time? What about human error with a system like that?
Merchant: That’s just not true. First of all everyone knows that people are better at math and counting than computers– faster too. Human error will be kept out of it, if we only allow patriotic, Christians to count the ballots. Everyone knows these people never make mistakes.
WTF406: So what do you think about mail-in ballots? People say that makes it more convenient for people to vote.
Merchant: Mail-in ballots have to go. They allow too many people to vote and a lot of them vote wrong. Donald Trump has been very clear that mail-in ballots were a huge problem in the 2020 election.
WTF406: But what about here in Montana? Republicans gained a lot of victories in mail-in elections.
Merchant: Just an elaborate cover. The Libs have made it look like that to give people a false sense of security about mail-in ballots. Give them time and they will use mail ballots to control people and implement their socialist agenda.
WTF406: What about the Library Mill levy election? It was all set and approved by the city commission to hold the election on June 6.
Merchant: Do you know what they have in that library? Books! Lots of them. And dirty ones too. And they have a lot of strange people in there. It just ought to be shut down.
WTF406: But is it your job to decide what and when things can be on the ballot?
Merchant: Well, elections matter. I ran for office with the support of a lot of people who know about the secret cabal running our country. I promised them I would reform the elections system to be just like the elections run by our founding fathers. No mail-in ballots and hand counting. We need to get back to the concept that only certain people can vote. Fact is too many people can vote in this country, and I aim to do something about it.
WTF406: Well! I guess that about says it all. Thanks for taking time to talk with us.
It didn’t take long. Less than three months after taking office, Merchant’s inability, or unwillingness, to administer elections is already creating chaos in Cascade County. There has been good, comprehensive news coverage in both the Electric and the Daily Montanan of what has been going on.
Obviously, Sandra Merchant has gotten herself into a hot seat. So far her response has been to say the problems at her office are a variety of factors beyond her control. She says the closure of IPS (a mailing company) is responsible. Staff shortages are the problem. Finding a printing company willing to print ballots is the problem. That her refusal to send ballots for the Library levy was a misunderstanding. And on it goes.
What she does not say is that she and her political supporters are election deniers who are fundamentally opposed to mail ballots. They want everyone to vote at a polling place and have ballots counted by hand. She doesn’t mention that her first hire in the Clerk and Recorder’s office is straight out of the election denier crowd here in Cascade County. Nor does she talk about her affiliation with Rae Grulkowski, our newly-elected County Commissioner and conspiracy theorist extraordinaire.
Maybe it doesn’t matter whether the current mess at the Clerk and Recorder’s office is the result of incompetence or Merchant’s belief in election denier mythology. What matters is that people organize to make sure she can’t impose her beliefs on the rest of us by denying free and fair elections.
If you like free and fair elections, brace yourself. Cascade County is in trouble and as a voter, you need to be informed. Sandra Merchant, election denier and now County Clerk & Recorder refuses to do her job. She needs to be replaced and soon! Send an email to the following people today and tell them to “ImmediatelyREMOVE Sandra Merchant as Clerk and Recorder for not fulfilling the duties of her elected office.”
[email protected] – MT Association of Elected Officials Executive Director, Eric Bryson
Ask the folks at the Sun River School District who requested a mail ballot election for their board of trustees. Merchant recently informed them she cannot run their requested mail ballot election. Was Sun River School District late with their request? Heck no, school administrators met required timelines but Merchant sent a letter saying they would need to run a poll election instead. Her excuse? She claimed the recent closing of IPS, the county’s mailing service, prevents her from running a mail ballot election. In her letter to the School District it states she could not find another source to mail ballots.
Sound fishy? It is. In the last year, Merchant and her ilk have publicly derided the mail ballot process, emphasizing their bias for poll elections. So is this Merchant’s backhanded way of eliminating the mail ballot process in Cascade County? You decide.
Here’s some facts you should know:
There are five elections between now and June and possibly two more in the fall – Sun River and Great Falls Public School elections (May), West Great Falls Drainage District (May), Ft Shaw Irrigation election (May), Library levy special election (June). In autumn, the city commission/mayor primary (September) and general election for city commission and mayor election (November).
Over 85% of the county’s voters prefer and REQUEST mail ballots for elections.
Mail ballots are more convenient for voters AND more cost-effective. It takes hundreds of paid people to run a poll election and a handful to run a mail ballot election.
The Elections office must train and oversee these poll workers. Not sure Merchant knows her job, since word has it that her office called the Sun River School District and asked them who their election judges are. Doesn’t Sandra Merchant know it is HER JOB to get the election judges?
The burden for non-county elections is borne by the requesting entity, so a poll election costs the city, library, school districts, water districts, etc. considerably more than a mail ballot election.
The library has been notified that their levy may need to be run in autumn when the city will be running its public safety levy. No doubt both levies will fail if that happens.
Merchant has also claimed that the redistricting process is going to take time away from planning any mail ballot elections. That process does not start until July, so why the hold-up for these four spring elections?
IPS mailing services gave ample notice of their business closure. In very early February, Cascade County Commissioner, Joe Briggs, asked Merchant to research other mailing service so mail ballots could be done this spring. Had Merchant contacted Kalispell which has 50,000+ voters in the county, she might have found a solution. But hey, why look very hard when your objective is to eliminate mail ballot voting?
It’s common knowledge that Merchant does not trust the county’s reliable count machines to tabulate voter ballots. Are Merchant’s gymnastics to eliminate mail ballots just a precursor to hand-counting ballots in the future? Let’s hope not.
Sandra Merchant was elected as the new Cascade County Clerk and Recorder last November. In just a few short months, Merchant has rendered the department inoperable. According to multiple knowledgeable sources, Merchant hasn’t been completing such basic tasks as handling finances and even checking the mail. We’ll be getting a more detailed report together regarding Merchant’s utter failure to fulfill her multiple duties, but today we must address an urgent issue.
Sandra Merchant is not holding elections. At present, the people of Cascade County are being denied our right to vote in elections and on ballot issues. Great Falls is the third largest city in the state, and as of today we have no functioning Democracy.
Merchant has refused to hold a mail election for the Sun River School District. Her actions have left Sun River little time to put together a poll election, and its entirely possible the election won’t take place at all. The citizens of Sun River deserve access to free, fair, efficient, and transparent elections. Merchant’s inability and unwillingness to perform her duties is stripping Sun River residents of their rights.
Also on the chopping block is the special election for the library levy. The Commission voted to send the issue to the ballot on February 21st and notified Merchant on February 22nd. There is a provision that would allow Merchant to inform the city that she couldn’t conduct the election. Merchant had 5 days to put this refusal in writing- and she didn’t do this. Therefore, Merchant is knowingly ignoring city code.
Merchant is blaming the closure of Innovative Postal Services for her inability to conduct these elections. We’re not fooled by her attempts at diversion. The previous Clerk and Recorder has faced challenges similar to what Merchant is facing now. Barriers like redistricting, changing private sector business partnerships, and a lack of resources are nothing new. The only difference we’re now facing is that Sandra Merchant is in charge- and she doesn’t know how to do her job.
Sandra Merchant ran on a platform of election denial. She claimed that our elections process couldn’t be trusted- despite a total lack of evidence for her wild allegations. Now, Merchant is literally keeping us from voting. Her total ignorance of the election process is evidenced in her responses- which are a matter of public record—in which Merchant has asked to simply move or reschedule elections. That’s not how elections work, Sandra. They are not scheduled based on your preferences or what is most convenient for you.
Merchant does not have the authority to refuse to conduct or to reschedule an election. Although there are both government employees and elected officials (Looking at you, County Commission) that could be addressing this issue, they are not stepping up and getting this fixed.
So, dear readers, its up to us to defend our Democracy. It’s time for Sandra Merchant to resign.
Email Sandra Merchant and demand her immediate resignation. Copy the County Commission on your email as well. Remember that your email will become a public record, so conduct yourself accordingly.
Bart Crabtree, a Great Falls citizen, was previously convicted of stealing $5000 from a girls softball team. Now, Great Falls Representative Lola Sheldon-Galloway has introduced a pair of bills- HB 405 and HB 589- seemingly at Crabtree’s urging. These bills seek to create “citizen grand juries.” This type of vigilante judicial system has long been popular among anti-government militia groups like the Freemen. Before their famous armed standoff with the FBI, the Freemen frequently held citizen grand juries, attempting to charge several Montana officials with imagined crimes, and sometimes even calling for their execution. Lola’s bill is so extreme that former Republican Governer Marc Racicot has spoken out against it. Read his opinion here:
Why is Lola Sheldon-Galloway bringing forth bills on behalf of Crabtree and anti-government militias?
Lola and her husband, Representative Steven Galloway, have thrown their support behind the extremist militia group known as Tactical Civics. Don’t let the name fool you, there’s no “civics” to be had in this far-right organization. Rather, this group is another extremist militia seeking to use force to overthrow Democracy. Steven and Lola previously held a fundraiser for this militia group at one of their many commercial properties. Read about their militia-fundraising here: https://wtf406.com/2022/09/galloways-host-militia-fundraiser/
Where does convicted felon Crabtree come into all this?
Crabtree is heavily involved in Montana’s local chapter of Tactical Civics. Creating citizen grand juries is a major organizing point of the group. Crabtree has been busy giving presentations to local Montana chapters of Tactical Civics pushing this agenda. Therefore it appears that the Galloways were knowingly raising money for a militia group, led by a man who embezzled money from a local softball team. Classy, right? HB 405 is a Constitutional amendment, making the stakes even higher. Montana voters do NOT need to incorporate dangerous anti-government mechanisms into our renowned and respected State Constitution.
Montana’s Legislature is a Citizen Legislature- meaning that our Representatives are supposed to be regular working class folks whose full time jobs are in the community, not at politicians. As the Galloways are million-dollar property barrons, we’ve already missed the mark with electing normal citizens. However, their duty once in office remains the same. The Galloways are supposed to represent US and bring forth bills that will positively affect our community. While Great Falls is facing a housing crisis, low wages, and soaring utility costs, both Reps have spent this session ignoring their voters. Interesting then, that Lola has taken the time to introduce TWO bills devoted to helping Mr. Crabtree.
Everyone should be alarmed to see our Reps pushing a radical militia agenda. If conservatives like Marc Racicot are saying to be scared, you know shit has gotten bad.