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 “Immediately REMOVE Sandra Merchant as Clerk and Recorder for not fulfilling the duties of her elected office.”

[email protected] – Commissioner, Joe Briggs

[email protected] – Commissioner, Jim Larson

[email protected] – Commissioner, Rae Grulkowski

[email protected] – County Attorney, Josh Racki

[email protected] – Elections at the Secretary of State, Dana Corson

[email protected] – Secretary of State, Christi Jacobsen

[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.