A local elections activist has filed another court action against the county, saying that someone tampered with absentee ballots from last May’s school mill levy election. Last week, NBC Montana told you how Patty Lovaas organized a team to look over ballot envelopes from last May’s school mill levy election. She says the records were unsealed, and that someone tampered with them — adding her claims to a civil lawsuit she already filed against the county. “This was intentional, and they know the law,” Lovaas said. “It doesn’t matter what spin they put on it. They know the law. There are numerous irregularities in that election — numerous. And that prompted me to do the review in the first place.”
The Missoula County Attorney’s and Sheriff’s departments say that after a thorough investigation, they have no reason to believe fraud took place in the May school elections. The announcement comes just a few weeks after a local accountant filed suit over the vote results.
“I have come to the conclusion that there is no basis to charge anyone with any criminal offense,” County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg said. According to Van Valkenburg, a technical glitch affected after-the-fact voting reports — like the one that led Patty Lovaas to believe the election had been rigged –making it appear that some votes were counted more than once. “They were never counted toward the election, and therefore this was simply a problem with how the software ran reports,” Van Valkenburg said.