The Montana Association of Clerks and Recorders is asking state officials to let them run the special election to fill the U.S. representative seat by mail ballot, saying it could save counties as much as $750,000. Cascade County estimates it would cost $145,000 or more to do the election by polling place and counties, which did not budget for the cost, would be responsible for the tab , officials said. They’ve turned to the state Legislature for help. Sen. Steve Fitzpatrick, R-Great Falls, is carrying Senate Bill 305, which is slated to be heard 2 p.m. Monday by the Senate’s State Administration Committee in Room 335. “This bill makes sense as the mail-ballot process is practiced in all odd-year elections and is about 50 percent of the cost of running the election by poll,” Rina Fontana Moore, the Cascade County clerk and recorder, said via email. It’s a one-time exception to do a federal election by mail ballot, supporters said.
The clerks note the $3 million spent on the Nov. 8 general election was the most expensive statewide election on record. County election officials note the high cost of the election was due to many factors, including “unprecedented voter turnout” and the reprinting of ballots due to the death of Libertarian candidate Mike Fellows.
Earlier this year, Secretary of State Corey Stapleton estimated a special election to fill the expected vacated seat of Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., who is awaiting confirmation to serve as secretary of the interior for the Trump administration, to cost $2 million.
The clerks say elections are funded in counties by taxpayers.
Full Article: Counties seek help with special election.