One has to begin to wonder if Brad Johnson
is the least competent state official in Montana. Despite running
around screaming about voter fraud during the legislative
session–and ignoring his failure to better prepare county election
officials–Johnson, as Jay points out hasn't actually uncovered one
case of it in his tenure as Secretary of State:
Spokesman Bowen Greenwood said the office has yet to
uncover a verified case of voter fraud. But he said the latest
verification procedure, required under federal regulations, will
help make sure it doesn't happen.
That would make it seem that Johnson is either a liar or an idiot,
but a following news story today by Charles Johnson
suggests that the most likely answer is that Brad is just
incompetent.It seems the Secretary of State's office has been
ignoring US Justice Department requests to meet implementation
requirements of the 2002 Help America Vote Act:
The U.S. Justice Department sent letters
to Johnson dated Aug. 25, 2005; Oct. 27, 2005; Jan. 19, 2006; March
31, 2006; and April 23 concerning how the state was complying with
In the April 23 letter, Tanner said it's
been more than a year since HAVA's verification requirements took
effect in Montana. The U.S. Justice Department has enforcement
requirements for the HAVA mandates.
“Pursuant to that enforcement
authority, we have previously advised Montana of HAVA's mandates
in this regard and of our concern about the state's noncompliance
with them,” Tanner wrote.
Copies of correspondence provided by
Greenwood show that Johnson's office answered only two Justice
Department letters. One came from Elections Deputy Elaine Graveley
on April 14, 2006, and the other Tuesday from Janice Doggett, the
office's chief legal counsel and acting chief deputy secretary of
state following a telephone call with a U.S. Justice Department
official on Monday.
“It appears that we did not respond
to their original letters,” Greenwood said.
No, Bowen, it appears that Brad Johnson can't run his office or
get the basic requirements of his job done. Instread of insulting
the people who came to vote last November and making accusations
about fraud, perhaps Mr. Johnson could actually do something to
ensure that elections in Montana are clean and fair.