Officials: No missing Montana mail-in ballots

Former president’s claim of missing mail-in ballots in Montana leaves people puzzled

By: - July 1, 2021 10:37 am

U.S. President Donald Trump participates in the final presidential debate against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden at Belmont University on Oct. 22, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. This is the last debate between the two candidates before the election on Nov. 3. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Even though the 2020 Election in Montana concluded more than a half-year ago, and a wave of Republican candidates were swept into office in margins that hadn’t been seen for a century, Montana is still making headlines in voting news.

Ironically, none of the news about Montana or elections is coming from within Montana.

A few weeks ago, it was reported that data from Arizona’s election re-audit, led by the Cyber Ninjas, was being transported to the state for analysis in some undisclosed laboratory staffed with experts.

And last weekend, former President Donald J. Trump made allegations that missing mail-in ballots in an unnamed Montana county is evidence of fraud.

That news comes as a surprise to Montana officials who point out that all ballots, including mail-in ones, are present and accounted for  — and have been for months.

Trump made remarks at a rally in Wellington, Ohio on June 26. The transcript from the rally reads:

“In Montana, over 6 percent of a certain county’s mail-ballots are missing, evidence to prove that if they were legitimate or not, that they’re missing. All this evidence. Think of it, Montana. You know, a lot of mail-in ballots. Where you have mail-in ballots.”

The reference is without support, and also shocking because Trump won the state handily as did Republicans statewide, sweeping the state’s top offices and dominating the legislature with a veto-proof majority for the GOP.

The Secretary of State’s Office has also confirmed that there are no reports of ballot problems or ballots missing.

“The office is not aware of any county election official that has self-reported missing absentee ballots,” said Richie Melby, Communications Director for the Secretary of State, which has responsibility for statewide results and certifying elections in Montana.

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Darrell Ehrlick
Darrell Ehrlick

Darrell Ehrlick is the editor-in-chief of the Daily Montanan, after leading his native state’s largest paper, The Billings Gazette. He is an award-winning journalist, author, historian and teacher, whose career has taken him to North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Utah, and Wyoming. With Darrell at the helm, the Gazette staff took Montana’s top newspaper award six times in seven years. Darrell's books include writing the historical chapters of “Billings Memories” Volumes I-III, and “It Happened in Minnesota.” He has taught journalism at Winona State University and Montana State University-Billings, and has served on the student publications board of the University of Wyoming.

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