We’re all familiar with Aesop’s Fable, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” The cautionary tale taught us that intentionally lying about something has its consequences, and that those consequences can negatively impact the people around us.
Crying wolf about the security of Montana’s elections is an intentional and deliberate attempt to decrease voter turnout by gaining support for laws that will restrict your right to vote. These false allegations of massive voter fraud have been tediously repeated despite all evidence to the contrary, and it’s time for the deceivers to start bearing the burden of proof.
As your secretary of state, and chief elections officer, I take every allegation of election fraud seriously. I launched the “The Fair Elections Center” early in my term so that every Montanan could easily report a potential state election law violation. Every allegation is documented, reviewed and, if warranted, passed on to the appropriate authorities.
The results are overwhelmingly clear. Voter fraud – votes knowingly cast by ineligible individuals – does not exist in Montana. Misleading Montana citizens by repeating inaccurate and unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud deflects resources that should be used to find real solutions to real problems.
Montana’s county election administrators do a great job ensuring the integrity of our elections. When asked to present ID at the polls, or to sign your signature on an absentee ballot, you are doing your part to keep the state’s elections secure.
I’m proud to have been part of the effort to pass the Post-Election Audit Act in 2009. The act verifies the accuracy of Montana’s vote-tabulating equipment by requiring a hand-count of a random selection of precincts and races. Since its implementation, the post-election audit has reinforced that Montana’s elections are fair and honest – and that the vote-tabulating equipment used by counties is accurate and secure.
Voter fraud is a federal and state crime, and there are no documented cases of it occurring in Montana. Those who use the same anecdotal stories while providing no facts or proof are no different than the little shepherd boy who cried “wolf” when there was no wolf. Eventually, no one paid any attention to his cries. I am confident Montana voters will do the same.
Be prepared. Be informed. And don’t forget to vote on Nov. 6.
Linda McCulloch is Secretary of State for Montana.