Investigation Launched as Video Emerges Showing ‘Ballot Shredding’ on Election Night

Officials in Montana have launched an investigation after a security video emerged that appears to show an administrator shredding ballots on Election Night last year.

The surveillance footage shows Carbon County Elections Administrator Crystal Roascio in the process of shredding documents on the night of the 2022 midterm election.

A complaint about the video was originally filed by Carbon County poll watcher Chip Bennett and his wife, Lisa Bennett.

However, the case is now in the hands of the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation, according to KTVQ.

The Bennetts insist that the shredded documents were ballots.

“We see our election administrator shredding what appears to us to be absentee ballots,” Lisa Bennett said.

She notes that a privacy screen partially obscures what was taking place.

Despite the partial view in the video, Lisa Bennett is adamant that it still shows 21 batches of documents being run through a paper shredder.

“We know that there are multiple pages going through,” she said.

“We can’t quite tell how many pages that she’s counting.”

Carbon County Attorney Alex Nixon said in a statement that no wrongdoing was performed.

“The shredding undertaken by the Carbon County elections administrator, which is depicted in the circulated video, is the shredding of ballot copies received via email from Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act voters,” the statement said.

Christina Barsky, a professor of public administration and policy at the University of Montana School of Law School, buys the official explanation.

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“You won’t see things shredded that are official documents, things like ballots or affidavits of any kind,” she said.

“Those all have to be retained on the retention schedule.”

She said emails received with overseas ballots are a different matter.

“If they printed off of a printer in the elections office and then put it on the paper ballot, that printout could be shredded because it’s not a voted ballot,” Barsky said.

The Bennetts stand by their concerns.

“What we see in the video does not match up with what they claim it is,” Lisa Bennett said.

“I’m personally hoping that there’s a good explanation for this that it makes sense,” she said.

“But I’m not hopeful.”

This is not the first time that the Bennetts and Roascio have clashed, however.

Last year, Roascio dismissed challenges to about 300 voters that were filed by Lisa Bennett, according to the Montana Free Press.

In 2021, Chip Bennett was at odds with Carbon county officials over the retention of election records, according to Western Montana News.

“Carbon County makes it a priority to not save electronic records and to dispose of all records immediately at 22 months; sometimes sooner,” he wrote in an op-ed.

“Yet, we are to just simply ‘trust’ them that our elections are safe and secure.

“Without digital records how can we audit our voting equipment?”

READ MORE: Over Half of 2022 Mail-In Ballots Are Still Unaccounted for in California

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By Frank Bergman

Frank Bergman is a political/economic journalist living on the east coast. Aside from news reporting, Bergman also conducts interviews with researchers and material experts and investigates influential individuals and organizations in the sociopolitical world.

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