We’ve Got a Problem

There are still thousands of ballots to count in Yellowstone County.  The fate one of Montana’s most important statewide races hangs in the balance, and several legislative contests are yet to be decided. The counting process is still going on now, as you can see from these pictures.

The pictures also show that there is cause for concern.

The first is a picture of an important sign in the Yellowstone County elections offices.  The sign clearly directs that people “DO NOT ENTER” the area where thousands of votes are still being counted. The area is sequestered so that those observing the vote counting process may see the process with out being able to tamper with the ballots.


Tom McGillvrayAnd these are pictures of TEA Party Republican state Rep. Tom McGillvray, of Billings.  (He’s the one in the suit. Here’s what he looks like from the front.)

The TEA Partier was caught on camera having barged right into the sequestered area in spite of regulations to protect the integrity of the counts.




23 Comments on "We’ve Got a Problem"

  1. This needs to be reported to the Department of Justice–yesterday.

  2. So much for the administrative efficiency of absentee ballots.

  3. I heard the problem had to do with the fact that mail ballots are folded, so that made the machines mad. Don’t know if that’s true though.

  4. From the Gazette: “He said the main problems in Yellowstone County were the difficulty of running folded absentee ballots through the machines and dealing with a flood of people registering to vote on Election Day.

    “We knew it was coming, but we didn’t think it was going to be this big,” Rutherford said.”

    I’ll bet a cost-benefit analysis will show it’s less expensive to flat-mail the ballots. And even less expensive to do away with unlimited absentee voting and replace it with four days of voting starting on the Saturday before the first Tuesday in November.

    • Silverbow used FLAT mailers and instructions that said not to Fold….

      • Good to know. I think Flathead County still folds its absentee ballots (I always vote in person on election day). To save money.

        Here’s a thought for discussion: is requiring voters to pay the postage for returning absentee ballots the functional equivalent of a poll tax?

  5. Rutherford’s got some major problems here. He knew this would be a problem, he knew there would be ginormous numbers of absentee ballots, and he’s letting teabaggers contaminate the count. Get it together!

  6. Baggers think the rules don’t apply to them. They even got the county to host a special teabagger vote count observation training, in which the county covered staying in the designated areas to prevent the ballots from contamination, etc.

    And then, you see this.

  7. In 2010, there were over 51,000 votes cast in Yellowstone County–and that was with record low turnout. In 2008, there were 71,000 votes cast. This year will be somewhere in the middle.

    Right now, only 48,000 votes have been counted in Yellowstone. That means there could be anywhere from 3,000 to 30,000 votes not yet counted.

    • So how long will that take? The Gazette said the results were expected Wed night. Well, here we are.

    • They’ve counted 61,000 now, so they should be nearly done. Still unclear if we’ll have a recount or not. Denise Juneau frankly deserved better results; she’s done a great job so far. Only reason she hasn’t wrapped this race up is low voter turnout in Glacier, Roosevelt and Bighorn Counties.

      • I agree, Juneau deserved better results. However, I still believe she’ll be successful in this race and that’s what matters.

      • Two factors to consider in whether there will be a recount. If Juneau and Welch are less than one half of one percent apart, there is an automatic recount, paid for by us the taxpayers. If there is a greater difference, I can’t recall how great, then the loser may request a recount but I don’t know whether we have to pay for that one too. Anyone know?

        • I’m pretty sure between a quarter and a half percent the challenger pays for the recount, if its less than a quarter it’s automatic and the county pays.


          • Thanks for the info and link. I found the Great Falls Tribune article to be less clear than what you provided.

            They wrote: The Montana Secretary of State Office indicates races are flagged as possible recount races if, after final unofficial results have been reported, the margin of difference does not exceed half of 1 percent of the total votes cast for all candidates for the same position. Recounts are not automatic. In order for a recount to take place, the defeated candidate in that recount qualifying race must file a petition for recount with the secretary of state within five days of the official state canvass.

  8. He is a lawyer. They all think that they are above the law. Quick, save the planet and invoke the castle rule, shoot the dirt bag and feed ’em to the coyotes.

  9. They’re now saying the ballots will resume being counted tomorrow morning. There are still thousands left to count.

  10. Is McGillvray waving a Bible or a constitution at these county workers. I can’t tell from the photo.

    This one is a religious fundamentalist from Billings. I am shocked that he is a lawyer, as he does not come across as intelligent but rather quite backward. I thought he was a marriage reconciliation counselor.

  11. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | November 8, 2012 5:45 AM at 5:45 AM |

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, America!

    I hear that the billionaires are LIVID, LIVID I tell ya!

    And NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING warms my heart and makes me smile like a livid kockh!

    Thank you, America again! I cannot tell you how MUCH I appreciate your courage, moxy and patriotism!

    AND, the mental image I’ll carry all day of a livid kockh! You did it! You made my day!


  12. James Conner Yellowstone is using ES&S Model 650 central vote counting machines. The newer DS850 is designed to process folded ballots. http://www.essvote.com/HTML/products/DS850.html.

  13. Doubtful that the GOP controlled Yellowstone County Commission will invest in new ballot counters when they can use the old machines as an excuse to restrict voting access.

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