How Many Lawsuits Need To Be Filed Before We Take Action?
At what point does Sandra Merchant become a liability for Cascade County?
Is it the mishandled elections? To date, not one election Merchant's office has run has gone off without a hitch. Get a basic run-down here.
Is it the questionable hiring practices in her office?
Is it the questionable Chico visit for her and her staff?
Is it bringing even more election deniers into the Electric City?
Is it the many lawsuits that have been filed in her short tenure?
It's really hard to say. For this article, let's take a look at just ONE lawsuit that is sure to cost Cascade County thousands of dollars.
Lawsuit Alleges District Elections Mishandled By Cascade County Elections Office
The Western News did a great article detailing the latest suit brought on by voters.
- There have been two lawsuits filed from the May second election
- Districts want the elections redone within 85 days
Elections in Irrigation Districts and Drainage Districts Are A Little Confusing:
Each elector is permitted to cast one vote for each acre of irrigable land or major fraction of an acre owned by the elector within the district, according to the Montana Code Annotated.
In drainage districts: Each elector shall be permitted to cast one vote for each 40 acres of land or major fraction thereof in the district owned by such elector, but any elector owning 20 acres or less shall be entitled to one vote, according to the Montana Code Annotated.
The Drainage District Suit filed by Timothy and Laurie Miller, property owners in the district. They allege that Timothy Miller was not sent a ballot and Laurie Miller was sent a ballot for a different plot of land. Residents that are not owners were also sent ballots. The suit also alleges incorrect notices and instructions were sent out.
The Irrigation District Suit filed by Elliot Merja and Riley Denning, property owners in the district. They allege that the district broke the law by not allowing valid change documents regarding designated agents and failed to notify the elections office about the change. It's also alleged that Denning wasn't given as many votes as he was owed, ballots were sent out late and incomplete with envelopes missing and address change.
Both suits allege that the election results were most likely effected by these errors.
Click here to see the lawsuit.
You can read a PDF of the letter sent to Cascade County Commissioners here.