Skip to comments."Candidate Hinkle Removed From Area Where Uncounted Ballots Held"
Posted on 11/12/2018 8:11:14 AM PST by givemWatts
Charlotte Mills, the countys election administrator, says Republican state Sen. Jedediah Hinkle was removed from the area where election officials were tallying votes Wednesday afternoon.
Hinkle was vying for reelection of Senate District 32 against Democratic challenger Pat Flowers, and candidates arent allowed in the area where ballots are being counted.
According to unofficial results posted Thursday, Hinkle was defeated by challenger Pat Flowers, a Democrat, by 338 votes.
A photo in Thursdays Chronicle shows Hinkle hunched over a stack of ballots. The caption incorrectly states that Hinkle is an election official and was searching through the uncounted ballots.
Mills said Hinkle was not an election official and was removed out of the area shortly after he was recognized as a candidate. Election officials thought Hinkle was an observer, but moved him to the back of the room, where people are allowed to observe the ballot counting, about three minutes after entering the restricted area, she said.
Everybody needs to know that he was not an election worker and he was escorted right to the back of the room, Mills said. He was totally out of line.
Mills said she thinks Hinkle was trying to figure out how many ballots had to be counted for his race, but she was unsure what he was doing. Typically, she said election officials and poll observers check in with her at the election office on the second floor of the courthouse and she escorts them into the room on the third floor, but Hinkle didnt do that.
Hinkle, who voted in favor of a legislative referendum that would prohibit the collection of another persons ballot, also known as the Montana Interference Protection Act, said he was not aware of the rules.
He said he was told he should go be an observer for the ballot counting process but wasnt aware he was prohibited from doing so as a candidate. While in the area, Hinkle said he was asked if he was an observer after he asked questions regarding ballot counting.
I said, Well, yeah, Im a candidate and Im observing, Hinkle said.
Thats when the election official went down to the election office to check if Hinkle was allowed in the area. He was escorted to the back of the room shortly after.
In the Chronicles photo, Hinkle explained he was looking to see if precincts were labeled correctly to go into the appropriate counting machine and to see what precincts still needed to be counted. He said he didnt touch any ballots or see any of the results because a sheet of paper labeling which precinct they belonged to covered them.
I didnt know I couldnt be in that area, Hinkle said.
For the record, Hinkle addressed the article and photo, of which many other people and candidates were there with him in the same room. The falsities in the story and the photo put Jed in a bad light. Instead of printing factual, truthful accounts. Bozeman Chronicle was contacted for their errors and non-truths to order a correction—they would not do so.
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