Election Audit: 'Irregularities' Found for 1 in 14 Mail-In Votes Cast
Vote-by-mail ballots in Montana reveal 'troubling' issues with presidential election
An audit of the 2020 presidential election results in Montana has found a large number of "irregularities" with the state's mail-in vote ballots, according to reports.
The state's audit revealed that one in 14 of the votes cast had issues.
Among the deeply concerning "irregularities" was evidence that “one or several persons may have filled out and submitted multiple ballots,” the audit report notes.
Another notable red flag for auditors was the failure by election officials in Missoula County to provide video footage of the vote count taking place.
“The story at hand begins during the pandemic summer of 2020, when the then-governor, Democrat Steve Bullock, issued a directive permitting counties to conduct the general election fully by mail,” Lott explains.
Lott, also a senior advisor for Research and Statistics at the Office of Justice Programs in the Trump administration, outlines the key conclusion of Montana’s audit:
"Its conclusions were troubling: 4,592 out of the 72,491 mail-in ballots lacked envelopes—6.33% of all votes.
"Without an officially printed envelope with registration information, a voter’s signature, and a postmark indicating whether it was cast on time, election officials cannot verify that a ballot is legitimate.
"It is against the law to count such votes," Lott notes.
"What’s more, according to auditors, county employees claimed that during the post-election audit, some of the envelopes may have been double-counted, possibly indicating an even higher number of missing envelopes."
A sample of 15,455 mail-in envelopes was also tested for defects during the audit.
"Of these, 55 lacked postmark dates and 53 never had their signatures checked—for a total of 0.7% of all ballots in the sample,” Lott reveals.
"No envelope had more than one irregularity. Extrapolating from the sub-sample, that would make more than 5,000 of Missoula County’s votes—roughly 7%—with unexplained irregularities."
During the audit, dozens of ballot envelopes were also uncovered that “bore strikingly similar, distinctive handwriting styles in the signatures, suggesting that one or several persons may have filled out and submitted multiple ballots, an act of fraud.”
"One auditor asserted that of 28 envelopes reviewed from the same address, a nursing home, all 28 signatures looked 'exactly the same' stylistically," the report states.
"Another auditor reported that among the envelopes she reviewed, two very unique signatures appeared dozens of times, describing one such signature as starting out flat, moving to a peak, and tapering out, and another as consisting of numerous circles—a 'bubble signature'.”
Auditors also raised concerns after the probe found that the county elections office “did not provide access to video footage it claimed to have recorded of vote-counting activities.”