Petition To Repeal Election Office Change Flops

Petition To Repeal Election Office Change Flops

Cascade County’s far right was mad as hell when the County Commissioners removed election duties from Sandra Merchant’s control.  Nevermind that Marchant had fouled up virtually everything she touched since taking office in January of 2023.  

When the County Commission held a hearing on Ordinance 23-65, which removed election duties from Merchant’s Clerk and Recorder’s office to the County Commission office, the hearing lasted 7 hours.  Cascade County was treated to a cavalcade of baseless allegations, bible quotes and challenges to Commissioner’s motivation and patriotism.  It was quite a show.  But in the end, Commissioner’s Joe Briggs and Jim Larson stood for competent election administration and placed election administration under the Commission office.  Here’s a summary of that meeting:

In response, these folks organized a petition drive to place the issue on the ballot and give people the opportunity to express their opinion supporting their point of view.  But, alas, they failed.  Not only did the imagined vast majority of supporters not get to vote, signature gatherers couldn’t even get the required 15% of eligible voters to sign the petition to place the measure on the ballot. 

Read our prior coverage here:

In order to place the measure before voters the organizers had to get approximately 5,500 signatures from registered voters in Cascade County.  But after 90 days signature gatherers only managed to gather 1,242 verified signatures. Less than a quarter of the required number.  So much for a wave of public support for the Merchant/Grulkowski crowd of conspiracy theorists.

Note:  Since starting this blog we have learned that getting public information from Cascade County is incredibly difficult and frustrating.  We found the new election administrator, Terry Thompson, to be an exception.  Our request for information about the signature gathering effort was responded to in a timely manner with complete and accurate information.

Don’t Sign The Petition

Don’t Sign The Petition

Election Deniers are gathering petition signatures to repeal the resolution which removed Sandra Merchant from election administration.  Pictured here is a sign at the local Republican Central Committee office on 10th Avenue South. Before getting to the petition effort of the election denier conspiracists, let’s remind ourselves that Sandra Merchant was failing at her responsibilities administering elections here in Cascade County.  The County Commission made its decision to remove those duties from Merchant based on poor job performance. . .nothing more.  For a detailed account follow this link    Despite the facts, the local election conspiracy crowd, primarily housed in the Republican Pachyderm Club, argued that the decision was a power grab by Commissioners Larson and Briggs.  They have ranted and raved, pointed fingers and shaken their fists.  Now they are circulating a petition to repeal the county ordinance which removed election duties from Sandra Merchant. In order to place their repeal effort on the ballot the sponsors have 90 days from the date the resolution was effective. That date is December 12, 2023.  So they will have to turn in their signatures somewhere around March 10th.  They must have signatures from 15% of qualified electors in the county. That’s about 5,500 signatures, but that is the number of valid signatures required. They will need to gather many more than the minimum number to make up for invalid signatures that come into the process.  The law also requires “The form of the petition must be approved by the county election administrator.” Does that mean Devereaux Biddick, who is the acting election administrator appointed by the County Commissioners on a temporary basis, reviewed and approved the form of the petition?  Biddick is an election denier and close political ally of Sandra Merchant. In fact she was hired by Sandra Merchant to work in the elections office shortly after Merchant took office in January 2023.  We wonder if her direct supervisors, Commissioner Joe Briggs and Commission Chair Jim Larson had any idea she was working on approving this petition.

ETA: An earlier version of this post indicated the petitioners has 60 days to gather signature. This has been corrected. The petitioners have 90 days to gather signatures.

Sen. Manzella- Bigot, Election Denier, and Favorite of GF Republicans

Sen. Manzella- Bigot, Election Denier, and Favorite of GF Republicans

Senator Theresa Manzella is no stranger to controversy, and although she lives in Hamilton, she’s no stranger to Great Falls. Manzella is the leader of the “Freedom Caucus,” an extremist group of Republican Representatives, including Great Falls Rep. Steven Galloway. Manzella has spent the past three years repeating the Big Lie- claiming the 2020 election was stolen. (

This delusion has been repeatedly disproven, but Manzella and the Great Falls Pachyderm Club haven’t changed their tune. Instead, Manzella continues to travel the state speaking with groups of MAGA Republicans. Known for her aggressive tactics and violent rhetoric, Manzella is a clear influence on Julie Bass and the election deniers that have taken over the Clerk and Recorders office. Jan Weenas, who has been volunteering in the Elections office, brought Manzella and her inane conspiracy to Great Falls in May 2022. We previously reported on Weenas history with election denial here:

Now Manzella is in the headlines again, this time for posting a meme showing a man being drug behind a horse with the text “Make Drag Shows Great Again.” There’s a lot to unpack here. Firstly, the use of Trump slogans is no surprise. Manzella wholly embraces Trump ideology, parroting election integrity lies and promoting violence. Manzella tried to backtrack, claiming this was simply a “joke” about rodeo. Let’s ask the family of Matthew Shepherd if jokes about dragging gay people to death are funny. After a recent attempted murder of a trans person in Great Falls, I don’t find myself chuckling.

This isn’t the first time Manzella has promoted violence against the LGBTQ+ community. In 2021, Manzella spoke at political rallies stating that violence against LGBTQ+ people is a “consequence” for our existing in public. Manzella herself faced no consequences for using her platform to promote violence. In response to her most recent rhetoric, the Democratic Party released a statement condemning Manzella’s post. The Montana Human Rights Network has gone a step further with a petition calling for Manzella’s removal. You can sign that petition here:

Manzella is a prime example of the intersection between bigotry and election denial. Manzella is but one in a string of extremist speakers brought to our city by Great Falls’ Republicans. As part of their 5 For 5 group, they also hosted Pastor Jordan Hall, a violent bigot who was later arrested for DUI charges, embezzling from his church, and violently assaulting his wife and children.

The same crowd that wants to purge all voter roles also loudly cheers violence against LGBTQ+ people. Give Manzella a microphone and she’ll claim election integrity with one breath, then call for the murder of Queer people with the next. Great Falls election deniers have wholly embraced the Manzella ideology- ignore facts, threaten the marginalized, and scream your lies with your whole chest. From Theresa Manzella to Julie Bass, the election denier crowd are a dangerously unhinged group of conspiracy theorists. Republicans are using Great Falls as a stage for the state’s most dangerous liars.

Read more about the Democrat’s response to Manzella here:

Read about Great Falls’ Republicans love for Jordan Hall here:

Read about Manzella’s prior attacks on the LGBTQ+ community here:

See Manzella’s offensive post here: