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By C. Burt Caldwell
Missoula, Mont. 

Stapleton – Stop Playing Childish Games


It appears that our most recently elected Secretary of State has revised his job description to read, “Persecutor of perceived voter fraud in Missoula County, Montana – only Missoula County.” According to his letter in the Missoulian, Corey Stapleton thinks a single instance of possible fraud constitutes the need for him to make sarcastic, mis-leading statements about the Missoula County Elections Administration’s ability to run an election.

Let’s put a few publicly available facts on the table (something Corey failed to do):

First, there were more than 45,000 votes cast – 38,000 of which were absentee ballots (approximately 84 percent).

Second, the woman who complained was allowed to vote a provisional ballot, which was presented to the County Canvass Board for approval.

Third, that one ballot equals 0.0026 percent of the absentee ballots – scarcely rampant fraud or worthy of Corey’s taxpayer paid time.

Fourth, Missoula County had 91 rejected ballots due to signature issues (0.24 percent), including missing signatures and non-matching signatures. We all know that signatures change over time and this is possibly a reason for many rejections – not automatically considered fraud.

Fifth, Missoula County Elections Administration pursues contacting each rejection (trying multiple times, if necessary), including – if time permits – calling them to resolve the issue.

Sixth, other counties had more rejections than Missoula: Yellowstone=538; Gallatin=202; and Lewis and Clark=98 for example. Strangely, they have not heard from Corey about their rampant fraud.

I am beginning to believe Corey doesn’t realize he is no longer in high school playing petty games but is instead playing with the big boys at the top of Montana State Politics. Our Secretary of State could do many things to improve the circumstances of the one million souls he has sworn to care for instead of playing childish games.


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