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Election mailer causing confusion, headache in Montana

Posted at 6:00 PM, Oct 10, 2018
and last updated 2019-07-17 14:51:27-04

BILLINGS – County elections offices statewide are sifting though a wave of absentee voter applications, after a mailer was sent out to more than 90,000 residents, incorrectly stating they were not registered.

The mailer was sent by the “New American Jobs Fund”.

Yellowstone County Elections Administrator Bret Rutherford said these mailers and calls to action around elections are not uncommon, but this one seems to have missed the mark because most recipients were already registered.

“So we’ve been contacted by at least 1,000 people in the last couple of days,” said Rutherford. “We have only had six people out of those 1,000 that actually were not on the absentee list. So there are a couple in there that are getting covered which is nice, but it is a very inefficient system.”

Phones at the Yellowstone County Elections Office were ringing off the hook much of the day on Tuesday, as concerned voters checked on their registration status, he said.

Rutherford said it has been a headache for him and his staff, as they have now had to spend hours inputting and processing information they already have.

Rutherford said any mail sent by the elections office will have an “Official Election Mail” seal on the envelope that only the election office is allowed to use.

Related: This is why Montanans are getting partially filled out applications for absentee ballots in the mail