by Travis Mateer
There are some worrisome things afoot in Montana, but luckily elections aren’t one of ’em. Just ask anyone who is important enough to matter, and they’ll tell you how AWESOME everything is.
Now, people who COULD be Qanon insurrectionists may tell you otherwise, but as long as you see them as subhuman, it will be easy to ignore slight deviations from AWESOME that may or may not have occurred yesterday.
One example is that an omission on some ballots occurred. I’m not sure what I find more entertaining, the fact that the wife of the man impacted found the error, or how Brad Seaman responded to it. From the link:
With the primary election on Tuesday, officials with the Missoula Elections Office were informed on Monday that one precinct had an omission on its ballot.
KGVO News reached out to Missoula Country Elections Administrator Bradley Seaman for details of the mishap.
“Unfortunately we had an error,” said Seaman. “And that’s exactly what we do when we have an error. We were notified by a voter today that they opened up their ballot and their husband was not on the ballot and so they said ‘hey we’ve got an issue’.”
Before we continue documenting the everything is AWESOME primary election in Montana, let’s rewind to October, 2021, when Brad was joining forces with Bryce Bennett in a Montana Free Press article, titled Pulling back the curtain on Missoula County’s election processes.
Here’s what Seaman sounds like when he’s in a controlled environment NOT screwing up an election:
A pair of American flag balloons hovered over a plastic bin marked “ballot drop box” Saturday morning as Missoula County Elections Administrator Bradley Seaman logged into Instagram. At 11 a.m. sharp, the voice of former state Sen. Bryce Bennett echoed through the entryway of the county’s election center, welcoming Seaman to a social media event promoting early voting.
“We’ve got the background up, we’ve got the Lizzo popping, we are feeling good about Vote Early Day,” Bennett said, citing the national movement for which he now serves as project director. “People are celebrating, people are voting, and that is the most exciting thing.”
Seaman proceeded to walk viewers through his office’s operation, from the cavernous building off Russell Street, south of the Clark Fork, where a trickle of voters were dropping off ballots to the small second-floor room next door where those ballots are sorted. The two spoke at length about the importance of every ballot being counted, with Seaman saying the best way to ensure that they are is “not to wait.”
Later in the article, after doing his little song and dance for early voting on Instagram, Seaman explains his motivations:
Seaman said the extended service hours his office has implemented this fall, along with his appearance on Vote Early Day’s Instagram event, are part of an effort to ease voter access and showcase the nuts and bolts of the voting process to anyone with questions about how it works. Some voters are unable to show up in-person to update their information on weekdays, he continued, and the Legislature’s passage this spring of House Bill 176 discontinued his office’s ability to provide registration and update services on Election Day. Under the new law, those activities are halted statewide at noon the Monday before the election. Even with the new extended hours, Seaman said he’s concerned the change will create issues for some voters.
Brad Seaman’s worries, back in October of 2021, sounds like they had something to do with the FUNDING to continue providing registration and update services on Election Day.
I bet Brad Seaman never thought, come primary time this year, that a potential political upset (by Dr. Al against Ryan Zinke) would be stuck in limbo because the ballots in Lincoln County were CUT TOO SHORT FOR THE MACHINES!
Seriously, that’s what happened, so officials sent out a metaphorical “bat signal” for human hands to get the job done.
The whole ballot snafu began when the ballots arrived a week late from the Couer D’Alene Printing Press, without a test deck. After retrieving the test deck, Buff cuts the test deck to the required 14” to run in the machine.
But when the absentee ballots arrived, they were a ¼” too short and would not run through the machines. After many tests and possible solutions, Buff and members from the Montana Secretary of State’s office decided that the best course of action would be to hand count all of the ballots.
Despite the complications, election officials say it comes down to the community.
“I kind of send out the Bat Signal at the last minute and, ‘hey, who wants to count?’ and you know, I mean, most of our, you know, election judges are elderly, but, you know, they have some serious stamina and staying power,” Buff said. “And, you know, some of them have more energy than me, I think.”
Is the awesomeness sinking in yet? Maybe it’s time to start listening to the most dangerous woman in Montana.
The alternative is to listen to the guy who does a live Instagram feed to combat the boogeyman of “misinformation”.
Seaman said the tour, which is one of a series his office is offering focused on different aspects of the election process, was in part designed to “combat misinformation.” Earlier this year, a group of local citizens led by Rep. Brad Tschida, R-Missoula, raised allegations of voting irregularities in Missoula County’s 2020 election. Seaman said he hopes to counter those assertions by giving the public a chance to “see the accuracy of the process” firsthand.
“We’ve been battling a claim that there are affirmation envelopes missing,” he said. “And so this is a great opportunity for people to see the process and see how we track through and how we come up with our numbers that are certified and reported out to the Secretary of State and then certified again at that level.”
Yes, State Reps, like Brad Tschida, have leveled very mean things at officials like Brad Seaman, like how they might be a touch “incompetent”, but I can’t see how a little omission and wrong-sized ballots substantiates THAT wild accusation.
There’s also a little matter of the magically appearing boxes of votes that continues to cast a shadow of suspicion.
Following a recent effort by the Missoula County Republican Party to settle claims of voting irregularities in the county’s 2020 election, Rep. Brad Tschida, R-Missoula, leveled a fresh allegation this week, suggesting that the Missoula County Election Office was “incompetent” or that unnamed actors had engaged in deliberate wrongdoing.
In a statement delivered Monday by Missoula attorney Quentin Rhoades, Tschida claimed that last week’s count of 2020 ballot affirmation envelopes, spearheaded by the county GOP, included two additional boxes of records that were absent during a citizen count he organized in January 2021. Tschida said the box discrepancy “could mean the election office is merely incompetent and lost track of the two boxes,” in which case he requested the office release records about the chain of custody of those boxes.
It’s really too bad the Brad with a weird looking last name refuses to recognize the inherent AWESOMENESS permeating the voting processes overseen by Seaman Brad. I feel like if these two Brads could get past their differences, maybe the world could begin healing.
Thanks for reading!