In a surprising oversight, the Flathead County Elections Department in Kalispell, Montana, used old ward and voting precinct boundaries when mailing out absentee ballots for the recent elections. The issue was announced on Tuesday while voting was already underway. The mistake, which affected an undisclosed number of voters, raised concerns about the accuracy and safety of the election process.
According to a news release from Flathead County Public Information Officer Kim Grieser, the county election office acknowledged the error and expressed their commitment to ensuring error-free elections. They vowed to review and update procedures to prevent a recurrence of such incidents, emphasizing the importance of maintaining the public’s trust in the electoral system.
Elections Department Sends Out Wrong Ballots to 'Undetermined Number of Voters' https://t.co/1g2xRuwJfY
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The mistake specifically impacted the Kalispell city election for Wards 1, 2, and 3, where contested races took place. On the other hand, the candidate running for Ward 4 had no opposition. Election Manager Adrienne Chmelik revealed that the error occurred because the new ward boundaries, implemented in late 2021, had not been properly integrated into the precinct maps. The elections office is currently working with the GIS department to correct the issue, but it may take some time.
As for the official actions regarding Tuesday’s balloting, Chmelik stated that it would depend on whether anyone contests the results. The county is diligently investigating the matter to determine the extent of the impact. Chmelik assured the public that every vote would be tallied, emphasizing the county’s commitment to rectifying the situation and ensuring a fair and accurate election.
In a separate incident, a Pennsylvania county experienced a voting machine malfunction that logged votes cast for one judicial candidate as being for the other. These glitches raise concerns about the overall security and reliability of the election process. However, Flathead County Election Administrator Debbie Pierson defended the integrity of the Kalispell elections, emphasizing that the error was an administrative mistake and not fraudulent. Pierson reassured voters that elections are safe and that the county will navigate this process diligently.