Archive for the ‘Voting Suppression’ Category

by jhwygirl

I know I’ve come across his name recently and I know he’s been back in the state for some time now – but when I read this comment from Left in the West’s Matt Singer, I got pretty pissed.

In a just world, election fraud of the sort perpetrated by Eaton wouldn’t result in termination. It would result in prison time.

This, by the way, is why I didn’t vote for Fred Van Valkenburg for prosecutor (without an alternate option, I left the race blank). When he decides to do his job, he’ll get my vote again.

Amen to that…

The Indy’s Alex Sakariassen got on the story first thing today…but I like Jay’s biased assessment just fine.

See – Jake Eaton committed fraud 2 years ago. Damned near exactly two years ago, actually. He fraudulently signed off on a document, swearing by affidavit that I had changed my address when I hadn’t. He had no information to support that, either.

I’m but one – but one should be enough to go looking at the rest of the 6,000 or so voter challenges he swore out by affidavit to counties around the state.

My opinion about this has not changed. Jake Eaton committed fraud. He disrupted an election. He cost taxpayers around the state quite a bit of money.

Far as I know, there’s no statute of limitations. Frankly, it should be an insult for any election officer in this state – and for any county attorney of any county that got these fraudulent voter challenges – to know that Jake Eaton is not only back in this state, but reinstated firmly with a working on Montana GOP election activity.

by jhwygirl

I’m sure many – probably all – 4&20 readers have noticed, Left in the West, Montana’s premier progressive blog, is down.

This is a temporary thing, I am told.

Usually it happens right in the heat of a general election, so I had to check my calendar and make sure I didn’t suffer a Rumpelstiltskin or something…

I’m sure it is just a coincidence that it’s down and that Jake Eaton happens to be back in Montana. Just a coincidence.

Until then, shop around on that list over there on the left – Mountain Blogs. Plenty of fine blogs to fill your intertubing pleasure.

by Pete Talbot


Keep Montana Beautiful. It’s one week past the election and time to take those signs down: small yard signs, big signs and really big signs (billboards). I realize that you buy billboards by the month, so Elaine Sollie Herman and the rest of Montana are stuck with those pink-and-black billboards that dot the Montana landscape until Dec. 1. But the rest of you can pull your signs — just save those wickets and that rebar for the next election.


I saw a couple of blogs, one left and one right, calling for a house cleaning of the Montana Republican Party. One comment said that state party chairman Erik Iverson should resign after the party took a drubbing in most of the big-ticket races.

Ain’t gonna happen.

IMHO Iverson did a decent job. Sure, he would have liked a couple of the “Tier B’s” and maybe another PSC seat. Considering the political climate and a fractured Montana Republican Party (Ron Paul, Roger Koopman, et al.) he did well to, basically, hold the Montana House and make significant gains in the Montana Senate.

There was a lot of head scratching over Montana’s mostly Democratic wins in the up-ticket races while handing the Montana Senate a Republican victory. In an interview with the Lee state Bureau, Iverson said Republicans spent $750,000 in targeting 21 legislative races they thought they could win, and “it paid off.”

There were a couple blemishes. One has to wonder just how involved Iverson was in the failed voter suppression ruse. He was also one of the main contributors to the sleazy “Obama will take your guns away” campaign. But that campaign worked and was partially responsible for the 12,000 vote deficit that cost Obama our three electoral votes.

If Iverson wants to stay around Montana, I’ll think we’ll continue to see his hand in state Republican politics.

Speaking of Iverson

It’s rude and juvenile to poke fun at candidates and their supporters when they lose. I’ll make an exception. One big mistake of Iverson’s was his claim that Obama would lose Montana by eight-to-ten points. Try 2.5 points, Erik. I even challenged him to a wager right here at 4&20 but the big scaredy-cat didn’t respond.

Messina on the move

It should be noted that former Missoula resident Jim Messina has an important role with the Obama transition team. Messina went to UM and actually worked on some local campaigns before moving on to the big leagues; first with Sen. Baucus and then with the Obama campaign as chief of staff.

According to Politico, ” … Messina, will serve in the influential role of personnel director … ”

Hey Jim, I’m probably a bit under-qualified for a cabinet post but would take an ambassadorship to, say, Fiji or Tahiti.

(UPDATE: Messina has received an even better job assignment: deputy chief of staff.  It’s the job that Josh had on the TV show West Wing.)

New to me

It’s been around a couple months but came to my attention last week. It’s a local, progressive political blog site called Bunk in the West. It’s main contributors are Binky Griptight (great name) and Megan. Binky has been a frequent commenter at this site. A belated welcome to the ‘spere.

by jhwygirl

Courtesy georgia10, one of my most favorite dKos writers (next to McJoan, of course).

I came across this today, too – The Nation’s Joel Barkin and Christian Smith-Socaris discuss the need for universal registration and voter reform.

I couldn’t agree more. A universal registration procedure, along with a national voter registration database, is one way for both sides to easily put to bed the allegations of voter fraud. That is one discussion that has gone on for way too long.

by Pete Talbot

Check out this superbly produced video on voter suppression here in Missoula. Hat tip to Missoula Red Tape.

by jhwygirl

Ari Berman of The Nation writes on the Montana GOP voter suppression scandal, in a piece titled GOP Busted for Voter Suppression.

Montana blogger Jay Stevens (“of the great blog Left in the West“) gets a mention, along with a quote.


Meanwhile, in other developments….

Criminal charges may be pending for the Montana GOP and Jack Eaton – a complaint has been filed, over the major flaw of the use of the word “apartment” instead of “unit” – Wow, huh?

Gotta wonder how many people in a college town like Missoula might be in that same boat.

Gotta wonder how many people didn’t check that list of challenged voters because they’ve lived in the same place for years?

Apparently Van Valkenberg is agreeing that there is merit in the criminal complaint.

Ha. I said that from the beginning.

So while the newspapers whither away on this story folks – Missoulian reporter Chelsie Moy did do a blogpost, though – remember this folks: This is the Montana Republican Party. Montana GOP and its chairman, Erik Iverson have stood silent in taking ownership of this attempt to suppress Montana citizens from legitimately voting. They threw courthouses around the state into chaos when they delivered more than 6,000 illegal challenges – all while election officers were busy preparing for what is expected to be a record turnout election. They cost taxpayers in the process. They disrupted the election process and they were proud and defensive while doing so.

Vote accordingly, folks.

by jhwygirl

Michele Reinhart is the incumbent candidate for HD-97, and has been a strong supporter of many good things, such as defending minimum wage, capping college tuition and going after predatory lenders. She currently serves in the interim Business Affairs Committee, and has been appointed to the very important Business & Labor Committee. She is a very strong advocate for environmental and conservation issues, safe drinking water and clean air, and is a champion for protecting and expanding hunting and fishing access for the public. Michele serves on the House Human Services Committee, where she has supported expanded access to healthcare for children (CHIP), fought hard for better mental health care as well as better access to healthcare services for lower income and disabled persons. She has been endorsed by Montana Conservation Voters.

In other words, Michele Reinhart – in only her freshman year in the legislature – has been a busy busy legislator for us Missoulians, providing us with the best representation in a wide variety of issues, from finance and business to healthcare and the environment. I could go on, really, but I need to get to the point of this post now, don’t I?

But before I do, let’s plug a donation to Michele’s ActBlue page. Elections cost money,and her opponent Carol Minjares has been out knocking doors – perhaps you’ve seen her lovely blue signs around town? – and we need to make sure that Michelle is able to get her name and information out to her voters in HD-97. Seriously, 10 bucks could go a long way.

Before I go on to Michele’s thoughts on the Montana Republican Party’s antics of the last two weeks, disrupting Montana’s election and sending courthouses around the state in to chaos (and extra costs), consider this – Michele’s opponent Carol Minjares has been silent to her party’s acts of voter suppression…which included my vote too, BTW.

From Michelle Reinhart:

The GOP wisely turned tail on its plot to intimidate eligible registered voters by filing indiscriminate challenge lists. That’s a good thing for Montanans but it’s no reason to stop questioning the motives of people who would embark on punishing any voters who filed change-of-address forms with the Post Office.

The list produced by the Montana GOP included friends of mine who moved in the last year and re-registered at their new address. One example that made the papers is former state representative and U.S. Army Lt. Kevin Furey, who was deployed overseas for military duty and forwarded his mail to his parents’ house. And the tactic is not limited to Montana; suppressing votes through spurious challenges continues in other states.

As the GOP’s retreat demonstrates, there was no voter fraud here—just discrimination based on “change of address.” The Republican challenge list sought to obstruct the voting rights of renters, college students, Native Americans, low-income folks, and our men and women in uniform. This challenge tactic is a low-blow directed at democracy, voting rights, and civil rights, harkening back to the darker days of America’s history when political participation was dishonorably denied to people of the “wrong” race, gender or level of wealth.

Trying to block eligible voters from completing their civic duty under a false pretense of voter fraud is shameful. I hope the Montana GOP’s aborted attempt at voter challenges has taught them that Montanans won’t stand for undemocratic tactics and this is the last we’ll see of bad behavior during this fall’s election. I’ll even dare to hope that word gets out to Republican Party operatives in the rest of the country about Montana’s success in stopping voter suppression in its tracks.

At any rate, you can also bet legislation will be introduced during the next legislative session to make sure consequences follow frivolous challenges to voting rights here in Montana.

by jhwygirl

For those of you who might of missed it, the Montana Democratic Party and two individuals have filed suit in Federal Court seeking to restrain the GOP challenges to voters in Montana. While the Montana GOP has feebly withdrawn its challenges – Eaton wrote that the party launched the challenges in “good faith,” but media reports have since suggested the challenges were an effort to suppress voter turnout. – the lawsuit continues on.

Molloy issued his opinion yesterday (on the temporary restraining order), and boy, it’s worth a read. Plenty of it is great stuff – really. The first two pages take cynicism to a whole new level. Print it out – and make sure to leave a copy on your favorite Republican’s doorstop.

He really aims a good bit of his ire at Secretary of State Brad Johnson:

Also explained below, the Secretary of State’s “Challenge Resolution,” a review of statutes and administrative rules designed to help counties evaluate challenges like those at issue here, appears to create the potential for serious violations of state and federal law when a challenged elector offers to vote. See Pl. Ex. J. While, at this time, I find Plaintiffs’ arguments unpersuasive that the actions of the Montana Republican Party officials and the Secretary of State violate federal law and warrant immediate injunctive relief, the mischief Eaton has injected into Montana’s electoral process may have brought to light significant violations of state and federal law, and the consequences of these violations should not rest on the shoulders of citizens seeking to vote.

He goes on…

On the question of the State’s involvement, the pertinent document before the Court is the Secretary of State’s “Challenge Resolution.” Pl. Ex. J. To Mot. The Secretary’s Resolution is a review of statutes and administrative rules. Its stated purpose is “to review the statutes and rules that may help [county election officials] to resolve any challenge to a voter’s registration.”…These last two sentences of the guide present a critical problem.While Mont. Code Ann. § 13-1-112(8) states that a change of residence “may be made only by the act of removal joined with intent to remain in another place,” the Secretary of State’s instructions to county officials could be construed to require a voter challenged on the basis of change-of-address information to rebut a presumption of changed residence with “proof of intent to remain at the registration residence[.]”…While the Secretary’s Resolution seems to echo this conclusion when it says that “a postal change of address form by itself is insufficient to cancel the registration,” the apparent certainty of this instruction is undermined by the next phrase, “especially of an elector who confirms his residence in the voting process.” A voter cannot be required to confirm his or her address under these circumstances. The elector must be allowed to vote by regular ballot, or there is a violation of the National Voter Registration Act.

And finally, the kicker:

The process the Secretary’s Resolution prescribes for evaluating the three “Categories of Challenged Electors” further confuses the State’s response to challenges like those Eaton filed against the 6,000 Montana voters. It is not clear, from the plain language of the Secretary of State’s instructions, whether an election administrator has discretion to deny an elector the opportunity to vote because of a challenge based on change-of-address information, or whether an election administrator must allow the challenged elector to vote. For example, for the “first category” of challenged electors – i.e., electors a challenger claims filled out hange-of-address forms for an in-county address change, but whose postal addresses allegedly do not match the residence addresses on file with the county – the Resolution states a county official reviewing the challenge “may . . . determine . . . that the challenge should be resolved in the elector’s favor.” The use of the word “may” indicates that the county official has discretion to accept or reject the challenge. Such an interpretation of the law is wrong. Anything other than an unqualified rejection of the challenge would violate federal law.

In other words, Secretary of State Brad Johnson doesn’t appear capable of running an election and may be – we won’t know until Molloy’s final ruling, but the early stuff sure is telling – violating federal law as he attempts to do so.

(That all was apparently missed by Missoulian State Bureau reporter Jennifer McKee. She speaks of Johnson having “effectively alleviated a crisis that would have required a restraining order.” Gee, I missed that part….)

October 14th, 9 a.m. I don’t think popcorn is appropriate, but it’ll undoubtedly be worth sitting through, if only to see Secretary of State Brad Johnson defend himself.

I wonder if the taxpayers will be picking up the tab on that? You know, like how they’re stuck picking up the tab on the extra county workers and county attorney time spent on the Republican GOP’s worthless challenges?

And kinda how we’ll be picking up the tab on this current U.S. District Court case?

by jhwygirl

A hat tip to Hummingbirdminds on this one….

The National Campaign for Fair Elections has sponsored a website, Election Protection, geared towards providing information on protecting your right to vote. If you have been a victim of the Montana Republican Party’s voter suppression and caging attempt, think about heading to this website to share your story.

Another site, geared towards empowering students and their right to vote is SAVE. They, too, have a website with which to enter your story of voting problems. They also have a hotline number – 1-866-558-4165.

The hotline number will allow you to record your story where it will be upload online for people, including media, to hear.

Look – it is important to tell this story. Until today, this was some abhorrent thing that happened in Florida or Ohio. Now it is happening – today, right now – in Montana. Keep in mind, the Montana GOP is promising more challenges. They are proud and unapologetic. Do not let them keep this story as something that doesn’t matter. As something that makes people like me out to be fraudulent voters.

What the Montana Republican Party is doing is criminal. Make no mistake. It should not go unnoticed…and shame on any media outlet that overlooks that fact.

Addendum: Don’t miss Bob Gentry’s post at Left in the West, which analyzes the complaint filed is U.S. Federal Court by the Montana Democratic Party and others, seeking injunctive relief from the Montana Republican Party’s voter challenges. There is also a copy of the complaint.

In it, you will see how Secretary of State (and candidate for the same) Brad Johnson (a Republican, of course) is complicit in the whole sordid mess.

Vote accordingly, folks.

by jhwygirl

I spoke with Vicki Zeier, Clerk & Recorder/Treasurer, today down at the Missoula County Courthouse, and she told me that the county has not mailed out any challenges and are still determining legal options.

Apparently, I’m in good company – in addition to challenging military voters and journalists, the Montana GOP has challenged Art Noonan’s vote in Butte-Silverbow County.

Art is a former state legislator and current executive director of the Montana Democratic Party.

by jhwygirl

One thing startlingly strange and missing in all the Montana Republican Party voter suppression activities of this past week is the name Erik Iverson.

You know – Erik Iverson, chair of the Montana Republican Party? Chief of Staff for Denny Rehberg? The guy who’s front and center of just about everything Republican in Montana?

One can only assume that he’s fine-and-dandy with his party’s fraudulent voter suppression activities. Just the same as the local Missoula GOP seems to be, including local bloggers and local state house candidates Steve Dogiakos (HD-93), Carol Minjares (HD-97) and Steve Eschenbacher (HD-96).

Crickets, anyone? {chirp} {chirp}

College Republicans have nothing to say? Nothing? Nothing from local Republican bloggers? Bloggers who are also candidates? The same people who were 24/7 with glee over their 15 minutes of fame over a pseudo-scandal because Schweitzer told a joke?

Your silence demonstrates your approval.

by jhwygirl

I am cautiously emerging from a 3-day fog of Dayquil/Nyquil (more Nyquil than Dayquil) to find that my right to vote is being challenged by the Montana Republican Party.

Found it out thanks to Forward Montana’s searchable database of challenged voters.

This is pure bullshit. I’ve lived at the same address for just about 5 years (only a few days shy).

As soon as I finish writing this, I’ll be figuring out what the Montana GOP’s grounds were to challenging my vote – because as far as I’m concerned, they’ve now filed a fraudulent challenge with the intent to disrupt my lawful right to vote.

I read back in my 4 days of emails and I find that the Montana Republican Party is challenging the votes of journalists, former legislators, veterans and Army Reservists called up to serve in Iraq.

Lt. Governor John Bohlinger wrote an op-ed for the Montana Standard this past Sunday, listing a few of the disgraceful challenges the Montana Republican Party put forth for this upcoming election:

Kevin Furey, former legislator who left the legislature to serve in Iraq
Cindie Kalan-Green, serving in Iraq
Mathew Robison, deployed to Fort Drum
Chelsi Moy, the Missoulian journalist broke the story
Babe Aspholm, an elderly man from Anaconda who merely moved across town to live in a senior living center
Tom Detonacour, a Deer Lodge County policeman
Frank St. Pierre, 86 – a 10 time Medal of Honor recipient for his service in WWII
Mrs. St. Pierre

Yep – this is the Republican Party, folks. Now we know what Karl Rove was doing in town a few months ago.

Look – these guys are proud of it. The Montana Republican Party has promised more voter challenges.

And lest anyone – any Republican – try and tell you that the Montana Republican Party’s vote suppression activities aren’t voter suppression – that it’s about (as Steve Dogiakos, Republican candidate for HD-93, and president of the UM Republicans) having “factual and actual voters,” know this: Forward Montana tried for over 3 hours to get a list of challenged voters from the Montana Republican Party. Jack Eaton, executive director of the Montana GOP said that he would refuse to share that list.

So clearly, for the Montana Republican Party, this isn’t about preventing some sort of voter fraud – of which their own man up there in Helena said there has been no evidence of – it is about suppressing votes, pure and simple.


Someone around here asked me “How many Republicans are you voting for/praising on your blog? Eh?”

That would be none. And don’t expect that to change any time in the near or far future. By throwing this kind of chaos into the election process, they don’t deserve anything less than complete and utter disdain. In fact, the Montana Republican Party should be held criminally liable for fraudulently disrupting the election process.

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