Well, you probably already heard about the marathon County Commission meeting to take testimony about eliminating election administration from Clerk and Recorder, Sandra Merchant. For the record, the Commission decided the right thing to do was have elections handled by someone who knows what they are doing, a novel thought! We’ll be publishing more on that later.
This post focuses on one of the more bizarre claims made by a Merchant supporter. There were plenty of weird statements, but we think Representative Steven Galloway takes the cake. After waiting almost to the end of public comment, Galloway rose to impart his wisdom to the Commissioners. Saying he is concerned about the county’s ability to find qualified applicants to administer elections, Galloway continued, “You can’t find employees, because the population is decreasing – through people not having kids, having abortions, we’ve got folks that are retiring.”
Check out the full article here: https://dailymontanan.com/2023/12/12/cascade-county-clerk-and-recorder-stripped-of-election-duties/
So, let’s look a little more closely at Galloway’s assertion. First, is the population of Montana really declining? Well, the answer to that one is “No.” Since 2010, Montana’s population grew 13.3%. Of course Cascade County is not seeing the same growth as Gallatin, Missoula and Flathead Counties. During the same period, Cascade County grew 4.1%. https://usafacts.org/data/topics/people-society/population-and-demographics/our-changing-population/state/montana/
But the thing that really caught our attention was his assertion that abortion is a contributing cause to our labor shortage. In 2021, 1,728 abortions were performed in Montana. (FYI of those 73% were chemical). Montana’s population in 2021 was 1.104 million. Don’t rush for your calculator, that amounts to 00.0015%. Hardly a big enough number to cause an unemployment problem. But facts coming from Merchant’s supporters were in short supply during the meeting.
If Galloway really wants to do something about the labor market, he should get his head out of his right-wing play book and consider supporting reasonable immigration reform, rather than building a barbed wire fence around the country.