Missoula County: Election process held up under “voter fraud” scrutiny

Secretary of State Corey Stapleton

A day after President Donald Trump eliminated his voter fraud commission, Missoula County election officials feel confident in a system that withstood intense scrutiny, primarily from the Montana Secretary of State.

Bradley Seaman, the county’s elections supervisor, said Thursday that local checks and balances placed on the election process have worked, and they served to rebuff allegations of voter fraud cast last year by Secretary of State Corey Stapleton.

“The way some of the allegations came about wasn’t the best fashion,” said Seaman. “I look at this like a closure. It’s been a good setup, we’ve looked into the status of our voter system and we found our safeguards in place are protecting the integrity of the system. To look at how it works is a good thing.”

Trump last year established a commission to investigate his unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud during the 2016 presidential election, in which he won the electoral college but lost the popular vote.

Shortly after, Stapleton also raised the issue of voter fraud after suggesting he found evidence of such in Missoula County following May’s congressional election.

But what Stapleton attacked as voter fraud turned out to be little more than a clerical error regarding a single ballot. Stapleton told county clerks in November that he believes the state has a healthy election system after all and that no evidence of voter fraud was ever uncovered.

Stapleton, whose office did not return calls on Thursday seeking comment, has attempted to make amends with election staff in Montana counties, according to Montana Public Radio.

Trump on Wednesday dissolved his own fraud commission, primarily because most states refused to cooperate by handing over voter information. Montana partially complied with the commission’s request for information by turning over what it said was public information.

“It’s nice to know we feel confident in the voting system, both in Montana and nationally,” said Seaman. “I definitely feel confident in our system here locally. It’s good that we take a look at the these sorts of things and come to the same conclusion that there’s not widespread voter fraud throughout the nation, the state or the county.”