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Video: Hearing on Montana vote-by-mail election gets rowdy, room has to be cleared

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March 24, 2017View for printing

A county commissioner who drove over 400 miles to testify told lawmakers Thursday a vote-by-mail election to fill Montana's vacant U.S. House seat would save his rural county money and alleviate concerns over a lack of election judges.

"It's convenient for people and saving us a pile of money," said Gary MacDonald, a commissioner for Roosevelt County.

How Montana conducts its election to replace former U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke, who resigned at the start of the year to become Secretary of the Interior, has come under the national spotlight after Gov. Steve Bullock set election for May 25.

HOLLY K. MICHELS holly.michels@lee.net

Full Story: http://helenair.com/news/politics/st ... 22a27e.html

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Video: http://www.kpax.com/story/34986256/t ... -spectators

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MSNBC Rachel Maddow - Montana GOP chair warns too much voter turnout favors Democrats http://www.matr.net/article-75651.html

State Representative Geraldine Custer, R-Montana, talks with Rachel Maddow about the advantages of a mail-in ballot http://www.matr.net/article-75843.html

46 of 56 Montana counties support mail ballot for special election http://www.matr.net/article-76030.html

Montana special election could be good test of voter-turnout findings http://www.matr.net/article-75890.html


Reader Comments:




I attended the Houses Judiciary Committee hearing on SB 305, a bill to allow Montana Counties to conduct the upcoming special election by mail in ballot. Supporters of the bill WAY out numbered the opponents and supporters drove from as far away as Roosevelt County(400 miles).


It became clear that there were more people who wanted to get their views on the record so the Chair of the committee ruled that there would be no more testimony. Then things got interesting. Ellie Hill objected and asked that the citizens who traveled so far be given the courtesy of having been heard. The chair, backed by the committee majority Republicans, shut that down.


When a very nice and feisty senior citizen on a fixed income from Helena stood up to say her piece, the Chair gaveled her down and they cut her mic. THEN, the Chair ordered the Sergeant at arms to clear the hearing room.


After things settled down, people were allowed back in the hearing room and were allowed to submit written testimony and give their names and community and affiliation on the record. Then we heard the opponents.

I felt their arguments were weak and not substantial. Don't know at this point what was decided, but the optics were terrible for the Chair, in my opinion.

Geoff Badenoch
--Geoff


I attended the Houses Judiciary Committee hearing on SB 305, a bill to allow Montana Counties to conduct the upcoming special election by mail in ballot. Supporters of the bill WAY out numbered the opponents and supporters drove from as far away as Roosevelt County(400 miles).


It became clear that there were more people who wanted to get their views on the record so the Chair of the committee ruled that there would be no more testimony. Then things got interesting. Ellie Hill objected and asked that the citizens who traveled so far be given the courtesy of having been heard. The chair, backed by the committee majority Republicans, shut that down.


When a very nice and feisty senior citizen on a fixed income from Helena stood up to say her piece, the Chair gaveled her down and they cut her mic. THEN, the Chair ordered the Sergeant at arms to clear the hearing room.


After things settled down, people were allowed back in the hearing room and were allowed to submit written testimony and give their names and community and affiliation on the record. Then we heard the opponents.

I felt their arguments were weak and not substantial. Don't know at this point what was decided, but the optics were terrible for the Chair, in my opinion.

Geoff Badenoch
--Geoff




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