The Montana Commissioner of Political Practices, James W. Murry, ruled on the Loney versus Moore, Blewett, Jacobson, and Boland complaint yesterday. It was not a big surprise to me that Commissioner Murry ruled against Loney.
To set this up a little, Republican Cleve Loney was running for reelection in Montana State House District 25. Democrat Tom Jacobson was his opponent. When the dust settled, Jacobson beat Loney by 74 votes out of the 5,068 votes cast. By the way, I am not a voter in this district.
One part of the complaint was about a state senator (Blewett) who was not on the ballot and wore a nametag, and a candidate (Jacobson) who was on the ballot and who did not wear a nametag passing out chips, candy, and water to people who were waiting in line to vote at the Expo Park in Great Falls (MT). The commissioner’s report stated there was no evidence they talked to people about voting or who to vote for or even campaigned.
Basically they were just being really nice guys.
Let’s get real.
If you believe an elected official or a candidate is hanging out at a polling place and passing out chips, water, and candy only out of the goodness of their hearts, then I have some oceanfront property to sell you near Geyser.
One would think that better judgment would be used in these situations by the county clerk and recorder (Moore) who is the election administrator. In this situation the clerk and recorder, the state senator, and the candidate were all from the same political party so maybe Moore felt inclined to let the boys hang out at the polling place and do their thing. Maybe in 2014 Blewett and Jacobson can do a barbecue, serve wine and beer, and push the envelope just a little further…
The clerk and recorder needs to take charge of the polling place and tell elected officials and candidates to exit the premises as soon as they have completed voting. It would help avoid even the slightest appearance of impropriety.
A little common sense from everyone would help, too.
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