HELENA — A federal judge in Montana on Wednesday rejected an effort by President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign and Republican groups to block Montana counties from holding a mostly-by-mail general election, saying claims that the election could be marred by widespread voter fraud is “a fiction.”
“When pressed during the hearing in this matter, the plaintiffs were compelled to concede that they cannot point to a single instance of voter fraud in Montana in any election during the last 20 years,” U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen wrote.
He added: “Importantly, Montana’s use of mail ballots during the recent primary election did not give rise to a single report of voter fraud.”
Nearly three-quarters of Montana voters have voted via a absentee ballots in recent years and county election administrators have experience running such elections, Christensen wrote.
“Thus, there is no record of election fraud in Montana’s recent history, and it is highly unlikely that fraud will occur during the November 3, 2020 general election, Christensen wrote. ”This is a fact, which should provide comfort to all Montanans, regardless of their political persuasion, that … they will be participating in a free, fair and efficient election.”
Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock, using authority under his emergency declaration due to the COVID-19 pandemic, suspended the state law that prevents general elections from being held via all-mail ballots.
All 56 of Montana’s counties conducted the June primary by mail and 45 of them chose to do the same for the general election. People will still have options to vote in person.
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