Secretary of State reviews election security and integrity

On Wednesday, Oct. 26, Secretary of State Linda McCulloch held a press conference to review the safeguards and protocols in place to ensure the security, integrity and transparency of Montana elections.

Secretary McCulloch emphasized that rhetoric of a “rigged election” is not only irresponsible, it is woefully misinformed and is meant to create distrust and doubt in a system that is the bedrock of our republic. There have been no verified incidents of voter fraud in Montana.

Election administration in America is decentralized; elections are administered and paid for by local jurisdictions. In Montana, the county clerk and recorders and county election administrators are responsible for the administration of most elections, including the upcoming presidential election.

“These are some of the hardest-working, most honest and incredibly dedicated public servants in the state,” said Secretary McCulloch. “For there to be some sort of systematic ‘rigging’ of the election system, fifty-six county election administrators, their staff and the fine citizens who work the polls would have to be somehow colluding with other unknown perpetrators. This is absurd and is not happening.”

Through the Montana Fair Elections Center citizens can report any allegations of voter fraud. All allegations are immediately reported to the Office of the Secretary of State, to county election officials, and if merited, to local law enforcement.

Secretary McCulloch explained that there are a number of structural safeguards in place to prevent any voter fraud or “rigging.” We use paper ballots. All Montana voters must provide ID at the polling place. Additionally, Montana election officials use a system of chain-of-custody logs, security seals and reconciliation processes to secure ballots and vote tabulating machines from any type of tampering. No vote tabulation machine is ever connected to the internet, and a post-election audit of the machine tabulated results is conducted after the election.

“I have confidence in our election process, and have the utmost respect for the county election officials who administer our elections, and the countless citizens who work at the polls,” Secretary McCulloch said. “Montanans can count on our elections to be fair, secure and accurate.”

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