Committee: State Administration and Veterans' Affairs Interim Committee
Author: Sheri Scurr
Posted on September 20, 2017
At its September 14 meeting, the State Administration and Veterans’ Affairs Interim Committee viewed a powerful Montana National Guard video featuring the family members of two National Guard soldiers who committed suicide. In the video, the family members talk about how the suicide of their loved one affected them and they make an impassioned plea for any soldier who may be feeling suicidal to ask for help. The video presentation concluded a morning of informational briefings on veteran suicide prevention as well as the challenges veterans face when forced to travel long distances to see health care providers.
The Secretary of State’s chief of staff, Christi Jacobsen, read a letter from Secretary Stapleton responding to Sen. Malek’s (D-Missoula) request for more information related to his statements in July about illegally voted ballots in the May special election.
Local election administrators briefed the committee on how absentee and mail-in ballots are processed, how election judges are trained, and on the urgent need to replace aging AutoMark voting systems used by disabled electors to cast their ballots.
During its afternoon session, the committee received a demonstration on how the statewide voter registration database is maintained. The committee was informed that although the voter information requested by President Trump’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity was not initially provided, the voter information is available to the public for purchase and was recently purchased by the President’s commission. The public voter information file does not include social security numbers or phone numbers, but does include voter names, addresses, birth dates, and history of election participation.
During its work session, the committee revised and adopted a work plan for the interim. The committee’s priority study topics are:
Other study topics include:
The committee chose not to further examine special district election laws or statutes concerning the cancellation of county and municipal primary elections. Also, campaign contributions will not be on the committee’s agenda until the related court case pending in the 9th Circuit is decided.