Investigation into Ballot Shredding in Carbon County Continues

The accusations of potential ballot destruction on the night of the midterm election in November last year are a matter under inquiry in Carbon County.

Ballot Shredding Reported

A vote watcher’s allegation was the catalyst for the entire situation.

The Carbon County Sheriff’s Office received the initial notification of the crime. It has since been placed in the custody of the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation after being transferred to the Red Lodge Police Department (DCI).

According to an election official, county security footage shows election materials being destroyed. Carbon County poll observer Chip Bennett is worried and has concerns about the footage.

On the evening of the election, November 8, it was recorded by the county’s polling location surveillance cameras. Lisa Bennett, Chip’s spouse, stated they saw the election operator destroying what looked to them as if they were absentee ballots.

Although she claims a security screen has somewhat hidden the footage, she claims it still shows 21 batches of ballots getting pushed through a shredder.

Bennett stated they realise there were several pages passing through. They are unable to determine how many sheets she was adding up. The Bennetts got in touch with the county and complained. DCI was consulted by the authorities.

There are, however, some other sides to this tale. According to the county, the footage does not really catch everything.

Although nobody associated with the county wanted to speak to MTN News on record, County Attorney Alex Nixon issued a statement, denying the claims made in the clip that Carbon County officials and staff had destroyed votes.

The ballot papers from voters who used the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) were destroyed by the Carbon County elections administrator, as shown in the widely distributed footage.

Professor of public management and policy at the University of Montana School of Law Christina Barsky finds such an argument to be reasonable.

Voting ballots and other official papers won’t be destroyed, according to Barsky, who previously acted as a poll monitor in Missoula County. They must all be kept according to the retention policy.

She claims it is permissible if the information the county claims is accurate. Email is used to deliver foreign ballots; once it has been converted to a ballot, the original email is frequently destroyed.

The printout might be destroyed as it’s not a voted ballot, according to Barsky, if it was produced from a printer at the elections office and afterward placed on a paper ballot.

The Bennets, though, are not persuaded.

Bennets Know What They Saw

Bennett stated what they witnessed does not match what the reports say. They claim the optics of shredding any papers on Election Day are, at best, concerning and they worry any conduct caught on camera is unlawful.

Bennett added they personally hope there’s a convincing explanation regarding this and it stands to reason. Yet, they have little hope.