Something’s Rotten in the State of Montana

Denny Rehberg, soon to be retired from public office, with his favorite beverage.Whatever happened before last Friday’s surprising defeat of the popular vote-by-mail bill in the Montana House of Representatives stinks to high heaven, and a lot of people in Helena are wondering when the press is going to start getting to the bottom of it.

House Bill 130, which would have launched a statewide vote-by-mail election system, passed twice with bipartisan support in House.  But after a secretive, last-minute lobbying campaign Friday, 15 Republicans switched their votes on the final reading, killing the popular bill with a vote of 57-42 (all House Democrats voted for it).

There’s a lot of buzz that Congressman Dennis Rehberg was pulling the strings at the Montana Capitol Friday, directing his henchmen to do the dirty work of vote-buying in the Montana House of Representatives, Jack Abramoff style.  After all, Rehberg has plans to run for the U.S. Senate in 2012—an election year that would have been significantly impacted by a vote-by-mail system.

Will Montana’s political reporters dare to ask what really happened?  Or are they content with softball news stories and lame Republican excuses?

If any reporter is interested in chasing this down, maybe this will help.  Here’s the contact information of the 15 Republicans who mysteriously changed their minds Friday.  What are they getting in return for their mysterious votes?   Montana voters deserve to know.

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21 Comments on "Something’s Rotten in the State of Montana"

  1. After all, Rehberg has plans to run for the U.S. Senate in 2012—an election year that would have been significantly impacted by a vote-by-mail system.

    Are you trying to tell us that Democrats would be helped more than Republicans by a vote-by-mail system. And that the results of our elections will be different with a VbM system?

    Didn’t you find it a little strange that this was a pilot program affecting only one major election?

  2. *House Bill 130, by Rep. Pat Ingraham, R-Thompson Falls, failed on a 57-42 vote, likely dooming the issue again this session, just as her pilot project for a vote-by-mail system in certain counties was defeated two years ago*
    You are looking in the wrong place for the reason why this measure failed. There is already absentee ballots available via mail. ALL mail in ballot with special provisions for reservations and for universities has misuse written all over it.

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | February 4, 2011 7:05 AM at 7:05 AM |

      “has misuse alla over it”???

      No it doesn’t, WF dork. Look, dufus, vote fraud is a CRIME! Do you REALLY think that your fellow Montanas are criminals? I do. You TEAWANERS are! But most other folks I trust. BTW, how long you been here, dude? You mean to tell me that you HAVEN’T learned to trust the decency of your fellow Montanan by now? That’s pretty sad. But again, NO ONE that I know is willing to go to jail for vote fraud! Now, whom do YOU know that’s willing to go?

      Sadly, I think that in addition to tea, the teawankers are now drinking the Koch! The Koch bros. are out to try to buy Dopey Reeburp a senate seat. Is that smart? I’m not so sure, ’cause Dopey’s already a shoe in for the House. And it’s not smart to put all your nuts in one fruitcake! The Koch bros. just might learn that lesson this time round!

      • wow- you are the hater Larry. I am not accusing my neighbors of fraud- but will call the liberal ACORN types willing to commit fraud. AND will call the Social Activists that register voters at fairs and such but throw out the applications of people that they think will not vote in their camp fraud. These are actions that demonstrate there are serious implications to an All Mail In Ballot.

    • This idea failed before and it failed again. Can’t understand the fussing over it now.

      • I oppose mail balloting, but not because I think voters will commit fraud. The security on the C&R end isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty good. And most voters are honest: even if presented with the opportunity to commit fraud, they don’t.

        There are two weaknesses in the system. First, big-time fraud involving absentee/mail ballots usually occurs when corrupt voting officials tamper with the system. That’s happened in Florida more than once. Second, denying voters the protection of the voting booth exposes them to potential intimidation and coercion. HB-130 would have put an anti-intimidation warning on the ballot envelope, but it would have been as effective as a restraining order served on a psychotic ex-boyfriend living next door.

        Acorn, incidentally, ran a loose operation and made trouble for itself by paying people to register voters, thus creating an opportunity for fraud that did not go unnoticed. Acorn itself weeded out a lot of the bogus voter registrations. To my knowledge, few if any cases of someone casting a vote fraudulently have been traced to bogus registrations from Acorn. A fraudulent voter registration does not automatically lead to a fraudulent vote.

        • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | February 4, 2011 10:35 PM at 10:35 PM |

          There were no “fraudulent votes”, James. Don’t fall for the rightwing bullshit. There happens to be a HUGE difference between fraudulent registration and fraudulent voting. Fraudulent voting NEVER happens except in teensy, tiny little rightwing minds. True story.

  3. It is now an article of faith among Democrats that early voting was the key to Tester’s victory in 2006. I’ve never agreed, and I’ve never found a peer reviewed study supporting the Democratic doctrine. Conrad Burns was 70 and clearly slowing down, causing at least a handful of conservatives to shudder at the state of his faculties at the end of a fourth term. An association with Abramoff was alleged.

    More important, however, Stan Jones was on the ballot, both taking votes that Burns might have received in a 2-way race, and giving a place to go for Republicans who couldn’t stand to vote for Tester or to vote not at all.

    HB-130 was a bad bill. It might have gone down for the wrong reasons, but the public’s interest was still served.

  4. The Montana Democratic Party’s desperation is really showing.

    You’ve got Ted Dick, that’s advantage enough.

  5. For those with questions about whether election fraud would ever happen in Montana, I recommend the following course of action.

    1) Contact election administrator Vickie Zeier of Missoula County.

    2) Ask her, “Were there any fraudulent applications for absentee ballots in the 2008 election?”

    3) Ask her, “If there were any fraudulent applications for absentee ballots, were any of them a legitimate elector’s name, but with an individual who was not the legitimate elector having signed the request?”

    4) Ask her, “If there were any fraudulent applications for absentee ballots, which organization that was registering voters brought them to the Missoula county elections office?”

    Any reporters who frequently take their stories (uncredited) from this blog ought to find a good one with those questions.

  6. Amen something stinks to high hevan here. I wonder what Rehberg is going to try to pull to cheat on Tester? After all the election I believe will be close. First off 1, Montananas are notorious ticket spliters. They may vote Republican for President, but they are liable to drop down and vote Democrat for U.S. Senator, then Independent for county commissioner. 2. Tester in this case will be the incumbant. And statistics show, in elections where there is an incumbant the incumbant wins 98% of the time. Rehberg has been an incumbant for the past 5 election cycles, but this time the rules will change. 3. Also Rehberg has not had any real tough competition since 2000, the inital election when it was an open seat and Nancy Keenan went up against him. In 02, Steve Kelly, was no real competion and the state and national parties practically ignoried him. O4 Tracy Velzacuz wasn’t much more then Kelly. 06. Monica Linden did a fair job, but by this time he was so entrenched. 08. John Driscoll in the final days even voted for Rehberg and Driscoll did not campaign, plus he was able to get in because enough Republicans voted in the Democratic primary because of the Hillary/Obama fight. Then in 10. Dennis McDonald, was a fair candidate, but he had little money, had fought a divisive primary, and it was a Republican year. So now 12 Rehberg will have real competition and I believe he will fold like a cheap shirt. Plus you’ll have open seats in the governor’s race, because of term limits, and an open congressional seat. Plus you add the current Republican state legislature that is not even half done making a–es out of themselves. Who knows the voters in Montana might me mad at the Republicans in 12.

  7. @steerinky-you are more obsessed w fake voter fraud then montana’s disenfranchisers in cheif-Republicans. How many bills have they proposed this session to put up road blocks to voting all under the spector of fabricated “fraud”. You guys crack me up.

  8. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | February 5, 2011 9:30 AM at 9:30 AM |

    I sure hope that someone sneaks in to see what michelle barfman has to say tonight. Isn’t Dopey Reeburp bringin’ her in tonight for his big bash and announcement? I really, really want to hear what choice words she has for the Montana wackos. I’ll bet it’ll be wonderful. I predict her speech will be FULL or Reagan, the Constitution, and tobacco religion! (You’ve heard of tobacco science, science based upon what the corporations want? Well, I view wacko religious beliefs as tobacco religion for being EXACTLY the same thing!) And of course, there’ll be the obligatory, thinly vieled racist anti-Obama rants, anti-immigrant grumbling, lots of violent gun rhetoric, more anti-government/regulations talk, plenty of jabber about FREEDOM, and of course, how the poor wackos in this country are under endless assualt! It’ll be interesting to see how she ties this into Montana though. Someone, please go!

  9. I doubt any of us have enough money to be admitted….

    • I hear it was $75 per ticket. Looking on Twitter, it appears that Mike Wessler was there, was sitting near Bachmann and was shooting some video.

  10. Helena Independent Record is reporting 400 people attended. I figured the price tag would be higher so the Koch Brothers would not have to rub elbows with any common people

  11. Just emailed Washburn myself (as I live in Bozeman). Want me to let you know if he responds?

  12. Yes, no big deal on this one. I might be old-fashioned or mistrusting, but I want to use a good old-fashioned written ballot.

  13. @ Doug M.;
    Yes, you’re both of those, as well as a Fraidy-Cat; since you feel it necessary to pack heat in order to protect yourself from the “bad guys.”

    Or is that just because you’re another one of those paranoid out-of-staters?

  14. Why did you idiots vote in this Welborn fool? Everything he sponsors or supports is completely ridiculous. Please remember this next election folks.

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