Former Winifred Lawmaker Alleges Whitefish Voter Fraud

By Beacon Staff

I don’t know what to make of this. Apparently during a Tea Party rally Friday in Helena, former Winifred GOP lawmaker Ed Butcher alleged that ACORN employed voter fraud tactics in an attempt to steal the Whitefish House District 4 race from Republican Derek Skees, who won narrowly over Democrat Will Hammerquist last year. Here’s what the Helena Independent Record reported Butcher telling Roger Hedgecock, a nationally syndicated conservative radio talk show host who was leading the event:

Former state Rep. Ed Butcher, R-Winifred, echoed concern about voter fraud, claiming in a separate session that President Barack Obama’s “ACORN crowd” nearly cost Rep. Derek Skees, R-Whitefish, his election last fall.

“Every Indian voted at least once, all the college students voted at least twice,” he said, to laughs from the audience. “You had an unbelievable operation going.”

First off, I’m not aware that ACORN has any operations or organization in Montana, much less Whitefish. Second, I don’t think American Indians make up a very large part of the voting bloc in House District 4, but even if they did, I’m going to go way out on a limb and say it’s OK that they vote. As for the college students, this would be the first time I’ve heard anyone, anywhere, assert that college students were – somehow – voting more than once during any Flathead race. Because we all know how incredibly passionate college students are about some random house district in Northwest Montana during a midterm election that they are willing to risk committing a crime out of … their abiding love for the business equipment tax?

I’d like to say Butcher’s weird allegations don’t warrant a response, but he was talking to a national radio host, and his remarks have been published in newspapers all over Montana. Offhand comments like that denigrate Whitefish voters, Flathead election officials, and anyone (like me!) who gives a darn about the integrity of government. “Unbelievable operation” indeed.

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