Library files suit against Merchant over elections

The Great Falls Public Library board has filed suit against Sandra Merchant, in her official capacity as the county clerk and recorder, requesting the court to appoint an election monitor.

Raph Graybill, the board’s lawyer on issues related to its June levy election, said that the County Commission did not respond to the board’s request to appoint a monitor.

He said that Merchant responded and refused the request.

Graybill filed the suit in District Court on behalf the of the library board on May 10.

Library requests election monitor; commission debates public comment on elections

In their lawsuit, the library board asks the court to “enjoin [Merchant] to prevent the doing of any prohibited act or to compel the performance of any act required by the election laws” by appointing a monitor for the library election.”

The monitor should be “deeply experienced in Montana election law, such as a former non-elected member of the Cascade County elections office staff or the current or former election administration from another Montana
county,” according to the lawsuit, and that monitor should have “direct, unfettered access to the elections office and all of its operations.”

Library board requests election monitor

The monitor should provide regular roles to the court regarding the library levy election.

The monitor’s reports of any issues should be made to the court and copied to the library, Merchant and the County Commission, according to lawsuit.

The reports would be “public, to promote confidence in the election and the eradication of any unlawful or irregular activity,” according to the lawsuit.