Community

Ballot Problems- Again

It’s not every day that Lincoln County makes the news outside of our state. Our recent primary election did just that due to an error in ballot size, resulting in a hand-count that delayed results.

Montana gained a new seat in the house of representatives- and the race to determine the republican nominee for that new seat was a tight one. Tight enough that Ryan Zinke and Al Olszewski had to wait until Lincoln County’s results were counted in order to know who had one (Zinke).

This isn’t exactly the first time we’ve had trouble with the ballots in Lincoln County, though admittedly the last time didn’t leave such widespread headlines. Last year Trego residents incorrectly received ballots for the Eureka Elementary School Board Election, which complicated the counting a bit. Before that, during the last presidential election, an entire box of ballots was left in north county and not counted until days later (County Clerk Robin Benson, running unopposed for reappointment this November, described this as impeccable). Of course, we have been replacing our election administrator, so the trend belongs to the county and not the person. Still, this doesn’t exactly inspire faith for November.

I’ve been complaining about the number of elections by acclamation in our county, but I think I have a new request. In addition to actually having an election, I’d like to have one where only the results made headlines. Hopefully November’s election runs more smoothly.

Community, Weird Words

Sharing the definition of Impeccable for the County Clerk

A January 13 article in the Tobacco Valley News described how a box of ballots was left behind on November 3 and counted days later.  The Western News in Libby brought the matter to light on January 5.  The kudos and praise belong to our local press – blunders such as this need to be brought to the light of day.  The article described how the ballots were counted late – and the TV News quoted Robin Benson, county clerk and recorder: “I still think that the election staff, Chris, did an impeccable and amazing job . . .”

The Cambridge English Dictionary shares the definition of impeccable: perfect, with no problems or bad parts.   What was it the guy in the Princess Bride said?  “You keep using that word.  I do not think it means what you think it means.”  Of course, she may have thought impeccable was a relative term, and been using Georgia standards.  Transparency doesn’t call for the media announcing the error and the correction.

Another TV News quote from Josh Letcher described the former election administrator.  “He did great things.  He put his heart into it.”  It is good to know that Nelson‘s heart is in the right place – but it would be more reassuring had his head been in the right place.  It’s a bit harder to sneer at Georgia when this happens here.  Again, high praise to the media for bringing this to light.