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Commissioners tosses complaint over pre-election newsletter from secretary of state

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HELANA, Montana — Montana's elections commissioner has dismissed an allegation that Secretary of State Linda McCulloch improperly used state facilities and workers to oppose a ballot issue.

Republican Legislator Jeff Essmann had claimed McCulloch used her post to encourage opposition to an unsuccessful ballot issue that would have ended election-day registration for voters.

Essmann cited a newsletter sent out by McCulloch in the lead-up to the Nov. 4 election. The newsletter referred to late voter registration as a "smart law" that protects voter rights.

But Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl rejected the charge in a Monday ruling.

Motl says there was no advocacy expressed in the newsletter. He says McCulloch should be commended for raising awareness of voter registration opportunities.

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