Major Shakeup for Elections in Great Falls, Montana
The Cascade County Commissioners just voted to strip the elected Clerk and Recorder of her duties overseeing elections. All this, before one of the most important US Senate elections in the country takes place in 2024. What's going on in Great Falls?
According to the Montana Free Press, public comment lasted several hours, with several elected Republicans like State Sen. Jeremy Trebas (R-Great Falls) and State Rep. Steve Galloway (R-Great Falls) speaking up on Merchant's behalf. Don "K", the Chairman of the Montana GOP, also spoke in opposition to stripping the clerk and recorder of her election oversight duties.
We spoke with the lone dissenting vote, Commissioner Rae Grulkowski, and the clerk and recorder herself- Sandra Merchant- Wednesday morning on the radio. Commissioner Grulkowski says the whole decision was rushed without enough input from the public.
Commissioner Grulkowski: This is not a carefully thought out decision at all, and there was not public input as there should have been. This was simply by a resolution. There was six days notice to the public on that. And the people that could be there- there were 60 folks that commented against this resolution and 39 for.
Meanwhile, Cascade Clerk and Recorder Sandra Merchant- still in her first year on the job- says the other two commissioners overturned the will of the people who voted to put her in the office.
Sandra Merchant: It is a very sad day for Cascade County. The electors have been overthrown.
Merchant says she inherited problems from the previous administration that she is still working to fix.
Sandra Merchant: A lot of the things that they're accusing me of are things that actually happened before or are a result of incorrect entries into the system by the former administration. We have found a lot of things...it's gonna take a long time to correct all the things that were put in there previously.
Here's the full audio of our conversation. And by the way, open invite to the other commissioners to join us on the show as well.
Great Falls & Cascade County December 2023 Most Wanted
Gallery Credit: Bejay Lindseth