Library board requests election monitor

The Great Falls Public Library Board sent a letter May 8 asking Cascade County commissioners to appoint a mutually agreeable monitor to oversee the process, advise the election office and monitor the June 6 library levy itself.

The library board’s request would have the appointed monitor report to the commission, according to Susie McIntyre, library director.

On May 5, the library board held an emergency meeting and voted to authorize McIntyre, in consultation with the board chair, to implement the legal strategy as recommended by the board’s legal counsel over concerns with election irregularities.

Library board votes to authorize potential legal action for upcoming levy election

In March, the board voted to retain Raph Graybill strictly to help with issues pertaining to the June 6 levy election.

Graybill is providing pro bono legal services.

The Electric has requested a copy of the full letter and expects to receive it in the morning.

McIntyre said during the May 5 board meeting that it’s not a punitive move, but to ensure their election is conducted properly.

Preliminary results have incumbents keeping seats in GFPS election; library board calls emergency meeting

McIntyre said during the May 5 meeting that Graybill and his firm were investigating credible reports of election issues that occurred during the May 2 school board election.

McIntyre said that there are credible reports that the Fort Shaw Irrigation District election was conducted improperly, voters were turned away from 7-8 a.m. on May 2 at the polls; signatures were not checked properly; ballots weren’t sent to voters in some precincts and then they were not allowed to vote on May 2.

May 2 election results posted to county website

The Electric received multiple reports on Friday and over the weekend that voters noticed their ballots weren’t marked as accepted on the state voter page until after the election and that election staff and volunteers were scanning affirmation ballots into the system on May 5, after the election was completed and those envelopes had been separated from their ballots.

The affirmation envelopes have the voter’s signature that is supposed to be verified for election security.

County elections officials starting ballot counts

Ballots for the June 6 library election are set to be mailed May 17, but as of May 5, library officials had not seen a proof of the ballot.

During the May 5 meeting, County Commissioner Rae Grulkowski, said that the county hadn’t yet received the ballot proof from ES&S, the county’s vendor for election software. Grulkowski is the county’s representative to the library board.

Sandra Merchant, clerk and recorder, told Whitney Olson, the library board chair, that the ballot instructions and envelopes had been printed.

Library officials said they had not seen a copy of the instructions before they had been printed.

Photo by Matt Ehnes of Jared’s Detours