The library mil election is over and the library won. That’s a good thing. Now Merchant’s supporters and some in the media are saying that it shows she is getting better at running elections. Don’t buy it.

Truth is the supporters of the library went to court because of their concerns about errors Merchant made in the month before the election. Some of the errors in the May school election included:

-Absentee ballots not being sent to certain voters in the school election.
-Failing to verify signatures before separating secrecy envelopes and ballots
-Turning voters away because voting registers were not available
-Ballots were folded improperly and didn’t fit in return envelopes
-Voters receiving absentee ballots which were not sealed

The library levy supporters went to court arguing that a similar pattern was emerging in the library levy election and asked the court to appoint a monitor to assure the library election was run correctly. The district court judge agreed and appointed Lynn Deroche, a former election department supervisor, to monitor Merchant and her employees and make regular reports to the court. Merchant and Cascade County resisted the appointment and had outside counsel to represent them in the proceeding, Then the county’s lawyer objected to correspondence from the library’s lawyers requiring another hearing before the judge. The court denied the objection.

When election day came, we did not see the same screw ups that characterized the school election and the special district elections which are now heading into litigation. Truth is the library election would not have gone as smoothly as it did had the monitor not been in the clerk and recorder’s office every day to make sure the rules and the law were followed. Not exactly what we consider a smooth election.