The Billings Outpost

Empty election promises

An empty promise is what Secretary of State Linda McCulloch is offering Montanans with her recycled election fraud website. It is a disservice to the people of Montana because it leads them to believe that there is redress of their grievances now available.

Currently, the secretary has neither the resources nor the authority to investigate or prosecute allegations of election fraud. The only action the secretary can take is to refer it to the appropriate county attorney.

Historically, referral has been pointless. Fifty complaints in the last election cycle resulted in no legal action being pursued. Hyping this “remedy” to election cheating creates two undesirable consequences. Law-abiding citizens are lulled into a false sense of security and those who would cheat the system realize they can do so with impunity.

The secretary bears no greater responsibility than to preserve the integrity of our elections. As secretary of state I requested the introduction of a bill that would have made willful election fraud a felony. Some argue that we do not currently have a crisis in our elections so we don’t need further vigilance. This mindset suggests that we don’t need to lock our houses because we’ve never been robbed.

Rather than recreating do-nothing web sites, the secretary should be working to put real teeth in our election laws. Good government in Montana depends on the preservation of fair elections. Instead of political posturing, we need tough enforcement and stiff penalties for those who violate our election laws. 

Brad Johnson

Former Secretary of State

East Helena


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