GOP state House candidate in Boulder charged with voter fraud | 406 Politics | #phishing | #scams

Timothy D. McKenrick

A Republican candidate in a state House district south of Helena has been charged with a felony after allegedly altering his signature on a ballot envelope in May, in order to “test the system.”

Timothy D. McKenrick, of Boulder, was charged May 26 in Jefferson County District Court with one count of deceptive election practices. The allegations were first reported by The Boulder Monitor.

McKenrick admitted to election officials that he intentionally altered the signature on his ballot envelope, according to charging documents filed by Jefferson County Attorney Steven Haddon.

The charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. McKenrick’s initial appearance is set for June 29. He did not respond to a request for comment left at the phone number listed on his campaign filing.

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McKenrick dropped off his ballot for the Jefferson County High School Board of Trustees election on May 3 at the high school, according to the affidavit.

Speaking to an election official, he allegedly brought up the language on the affirmation envelope stating that “failure to complete the signature information may invalidate my ballot.” He said that it should use the word “shall” instead of “may,” the affidavit states, which drew the official’s attention to his signature.

A subsequent comparison of the signature with those already on file for McKenrick indicated that it didn’t match the earlier samples.

On May 5, McKenrick returned to the high school at the request of election officials, and told one of them that “he had intentionally altered his signature to appear more closely to that he used when he was younger … to make sure the election workers were checking signatures,” the charges state.

He said “he would rather his vote not be counted than miss the opportunity to ‘test the system,’” the affidavit states.

McKenrick also allegedly admitted to intentionally altering his signature during a conversation with Jefferson County Election Administrator Ginger Kunz.

In doing so, he “made or presented a record or document knowing it to be false with the purpose that it be taken as a genuine part of a record or document received or kept by the government,” the charges state.

Despite a steady campaign over the past year by some lawmakers and activists to sow doubt about Montana’s election security, incidents of fraud remain relatively rare. And those alleging hacking or other coordinated election fraud have failed to substantiate their allegations with evidence.

McKenrick is the only candidate who has filed to challenge incumbent Rep. Marta Bertoglio, R-Clancy, meaning the winner of the primary will go on to represent HD 75 as no Democrat is running in the district. The primary is June 7.

McKenrick previously pled guilty, in 2008, to 10 separate hunting violations charged in Jefferson County Justice Court. At the time, he was a part-time jailer and dispatcher for the county.

He was accused of incidents in 2006 and 2007 that included hunting without a license, using other people’s tags to kill a deer and three elk and killing multiple mule deer in a single season. He pleaded guilty in January 2008 and paid $4,000 in restitution in addition to fines, according to the justice court.

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