Montana Pilots Election Observation Initiative with Carter Center Partnership

In a collaborative effort with the global Carter Center, two influential figures from Montana’s election integrity landscape have launched the Montana Election Observation Initiative. This pilot project, which deployed over a dozen trained volunteers across 19 of Missoula County’s 22 polling stations on June 4, aims to restore voter confidence through nonpartisan observation of the election process rather than the outcomes.

Jeff Mangan, former Montana Commissioner of Political Practices, and Geraldine Custer, a former Republican state lawmaker, co-chair this innovative initiative. They are focused on providing reliable data and transparent processes to build public trust in the electoral system.

The initiative’s trial in Missoula County yielded an eight-page report, asserting that the primary election was well-conducted by local officials and workers. Encouraged by these results, Mangan and Custer are now expanding their efforts. They plan to train over 100 additional observers to cover up to 15 counties in the upcoming November general election.

This initiative comes in response to the national scrutiny of electoral integrity following the 2020 presidential election, where false claims of widespread voter fraud led to a surge in legislative proposals aimed at tightening election regulations. The Carter Center, renowned for its global election monitoring work, has supported the initiative by funding the volunteers’ honorariums and sharing its extensive nonpartisan observation expertise.