In Case You Missed It: Election Administrator Ignoring State Law

With the recent meeting and posting about election integrity, I’ve been reminded that while I don’t personally have any evidence of mail fraud, we do have some evidence of… malpractice? malfeasance? Willful avoidance of compliance with state election law? You decide.

(The short version: Section 7 suggests that write-in candidates, even undeclared, should be able to win the primary provided there isn’t a declared candidate. Lincoln County Election Administrator Paula Buff disagreed, and was rather sluggish in response to a freedom of information act request. Writing to the Montana Secretary of State about the issue has thus far only resulted in what appears to be “the bedbug letter”. We’re open to suggestions on where to go next)

Can Paula Omit Section 7?

I’ve inadvertently ran across a spot where Montana Counties – at least Lincoln County,  and I believe others – are systematically violating election law. When Lincoln County mailed out primary ballots, the Democrat ballot had no one running within Lincoln county, showing only 3 candidates for US House – the closest Dem candidate was in Polson.  The Republican ballot had a single race for Libby commissioner, a candidate for county school superintendent who had bailed out too late to get off the ballot, and no candidate for county administrator. My daughter meets all the requirements for superintendent, so she and…

To Paula on Independence Day

Greetings Paula – On June 10th, three days after our most recent election, you sent me these words: “We likely won’t have the write-in name information available for a few days.I will send you the info once we have it available.” As I type this, it is the Fourth of July – a day with some significance to our republic, as well as 27 days past the election, and 24 days past your commitment to send “the info once we have it available.”  I understand the word “few” to mean not many, but more than  one.  We have moved into…

Still no Parties in the Primary

Well, on July 7, I received another reply from Paula Buff on my Freedom of Information Act request.  It included part of a spreadsheet on the write-in votes, and these words: Here is the info you requested.Candidate information can be found on the COPP website.” Since the spreadsheet didn’t include all the information I requested, I replied: Greetings PaulaThanks for including the COPP website – when I include websites, I normally attempt to have them interactive, so the recipient doesn’t have to google to figure out what the abbreviation means, but that’s merely a courtesy to which I am accustomed. …

Election Administrator continues to stonewall

Greetings Paula:Two long weeks ago, I reminded you that you have not shared information I requested, specifically: “Please send me the names and numbers of all write-in votes on Lincoln County ballots, by party and position, as well as the date those write-in votes were counted,  and the name or names of anyone who has filed as a write-in candidate, from the recent primary election last June, at your earliest opportunity. (emphasis added)”You have provided names, numbers and positions.  I can determine the date they were counted from the spreadsheet.  You did not include “the name or names of anyone…

Writing to the Montana Secretary of State

Since the county election administrator informed us that she considers the matter “closed”, the question becomes who is the next level up the bureaucratic ladder. Greetings Secretary of State Jacobsen;I believe (strongly) that I have found a single word in the Montana Election Judge Handbook 2020 that allows appointed local election administrators to ignore a portion of state election law.  Since you ran with the slogan “Establishment Politicians Won’t Stop Me  You’ve seen it over and over  Entrenched politicians trying to limit your choices and control elections  Not on my watch” I am optimistic that you will view my take…

To the Secretary of State (Again)

Greetings Secretary of State Jacobsen; You have my apologies for sending this letter by registered mail – but I have received no acknowledgement of my email two months earlier. Governmental unresponsiveness can have many causes, and some are benign – so this is my second attempt to bring the issue before you. I believe that a single word in the Montana Election Judge Handbook 2020 allows appointed local election administrators to ignore a portion of state election law (subsection 7 – see below). Since you ran with the promise “Establishment Politicians Won’t Stop Me, You’ve seen it over and over…

I Think I Got the Bedbug Letter

I first heard of the bedbug letter about 50 years ago – from Bob Brown, when we were undergrads at MSU.  In Bob’s story, the protagonist was P.J. Hill of the Great Northern . . . the Hill that Hill county is named after.  The Hill who was known as the “Empire Builder.”  Since the legend of the bedbug letter has made it into Snopes, here’s their version of the story Bob told: Did a real event spark off this legend? Possibly. Folklore Jan Harold Brunvand reported on a 1992 letter from the corresponding secretary of the George Mortimer Pullman…

In Lincoln County I May be Allowed to

I’ve noticed a meme – pick the subject (your liberties are, the earth is) not dying, they’re being killed by people with names and addresses.    My ability to vote against a candidate in this next election has been taken from me – by well meaning, well-regarded people. Taking my vote away (and yours) has not been accomplished in a single act – but over time, my vote has been made meaningless . . . and if my vote is meaningless, I’ve been left with the activity of voting, but my vote has no influence.  Maybe it’s wrong to say I…

To the Secretary of State, Regarding Section Seven (Again)

November 21st, 2022 Dear Secretary of State Jacobsen; I received your letter of October 19, and was pleased to be commended for being a responsible, educated and committed voter, etc.  It’s nice to have you say these nice things about me. Still, the only commitment in your letter was “Our office will carefully review your information and observations.”  Consequently, I am describing my observations in detail in this letter to be certain your office has them and hopefully nothing is missed. This started before the 2022 Primary, and I wrote the following to describe the experience: I’ve inadvertently ran across…

1 thought on “In Case You Missed It: Election Administrator Ignoring State Law”

  1. Maybe with The combination of Zucker bucks, and all the votes christie got, added that she belongs to the sec. of state union, We see on her face book page that all she does is play and give talks. She only wants voter suppression. Also at the election integrity meeting, don’t forget all the gun rights votes, more then all should be possable.


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