Carbon County Montana residents filed a complaint after video surfaced of local election workers shredding ballots on election night last November.
The witnesses say they saw 21 batches of ballots being shredded on election night by an election worker.
County officials later came out and said it was OK because they were just “copies” of the military and overseas ballots.
An investigation is underway in Carbon County into allegations of possible ballot shredding on election night last November.
It all started with a complaint from a poll watcher.
The case was first reported to the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office. It was handed off to the Red Lodge Police Department and is now with the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI).
A poll worker says he witnessed the shredding of election material on county surveillance video.
It’s video that has Carbon County poll watcher Chip Bennett concerned and asking questions.
It was captured on Nov. 8, election night, on the county’s election office security cameras.
“We see our election administrator shredding what appears to us to be absentee ballots,” said Lisa Bennett, Chip’s wife.
She says the video is partially blocked with a privacy screen but says the video shows 21 batches of documents being run through a shredder.
“We know that there are multiple pages going through,” Bennett said. “We can’t quite tell how many pages that she’s counting.”
The Bennetts contacted the county and filed a complaint.
The County responded.
The county says the video doesn’t capture with some think.
While no one from the county would speak with MTN News on camera, County Attorney Alex Nixon provided a statement, saying Carbon County officials and employees did not shred ballots as alleged in the video.
“The shredding undertaken by the Carbon County elections administrator, which is depicted in the circulated video, is the shredding of ballot copies received via email from Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) voters.”
That explanation that makes sense to Christina Barsky, a professor of public administration and policy at the University of Montana School of Law School.