Election wraps up Tues.

Numerous contested races in Dillon, Lima

Anyone who wants his or her vote to count in the municipal races in Dillon and Lima this year needs to submit a ballot by 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7 to the Beaverhead County Election Administrator in the county courthouse in Dillon.

And those who have yet to mail back their ballots in the mail ballot elections may have to drop them off in person to ensure they do count.

“If you’re going to mail in your ballot, you should do it a week in advance to make sure it gets here on time,” said Beaverhead County Election Administrator Debbie Scott.

“If they are postmarked in time but end up here after Election Day, they will not count,” added Scott, who also serves as the county clerk & recorder.

The race for Dillon mayor between incumbent Mike Klakken and City Council President Tom Straugh, both longtime city residents and participants in city government, is expected to be tight (for their respective views on issues see the Political Forum page in this week’s and last week’s Dillon Tribune).

But the races for the Dillon City Council seats on this year’s ballot have all been essentially decided. As the only candidates on the ballot for their respective positions, John Garry (Ward 1), Russ Schwandt (Ward 2), Bill Shafer (Ward 3) and Mandy Maass (Ward 4) can each secure a four-year term simply by voting for himself or herself.

Though Maass has vowed not to vote for herself and is asking others not to as well because she plans to soon move out of the state.

Mary Jo O’Rourke can also gain a four-year term for the other Ward 4 Dillon City Council seat simply by casting a vote for herself. With the seat’s current occupant, Jim McIsaac, choosing not to run for another term and no one signing up in time to get on the ballot for the seat, O’Rourke emerged as the only person to register by the Sept. 5 deadline to qualify to receive write-in votes for the seat. Write-in votes for anyone else will be disqualified.

Local attorney Kaylan Minor was the only person to file in time to receive write-in votes for the Dillon city judge position also on the docket for this election. She is hoping to draw more votes than Paul Pilgrim, the local businessman who signed up by the June deadline to appear on the ballot for the city judge post (for their respective views on issues see the Political Forum page in this week’s and last week’s Dillon Tribune).

Crystal Thompson, who resigned as city judge this summer after the launch of a criminal investigation into her activities on the bench, also appears on the ballot for the position, but has withdrawn from the race.

This year’s ballot for Dillon voters includes a mill levy request for an annual authorization for the City of Dillon to hire two additional police officers (for a full story on the issue, see last week’s Dillon Tribune).

All the races in this year’s Lima municipal election are contested, except the one for a two-year term on the Lima City Council that James Fullard can earn simply by voting for himself as the sole person on the ballot and no write-in candidates challenging him.

Two seats with four-year terms on the Lima City Council are being sought by Dorothy Mikula, Travis Wilson, Judy Weekes and David Brown.

The races for those two Lima City Council seats are not head-to-head. All four candidates are in the same pool—the top two overall vote-getters from which will win the seats.

Lima’s mayoral race pits incumbent David Olsen against challenger Kent Craven.

Scott said that, as of Tuesday afternoon, her office had received back 776 filled-out ballots.

“The first week after we mail them out and the last week before the election deadline are the busiest for people returning their ballots,” noted Scott, who has administrated elections in the county for the past decade.

Of the more than 2000 ballots her office mailed out, Scott said over 250 had been returned as undeliverable, many due to their intended recipients moving.

“Ballots cannot be forwarded like mail can,” noted Scott, who said those who are registered to vote but have not received ballots in the mail can still get them by coming to her office, as can people who have yet to register.

“People who actually live in the city limits can just come in and fill out a registration form, and we will issue them a ballot,” said Scott, whose office sits inside the Beaverhead County Courthouse in Dillon.

The deadline to register and to vote is 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7.

With the final tally of ballots coming next Tuesday after the Dillon Tribune goes to press, results from the election will not appear on next week’s paper.

But you can find the results of the races, starting Tuesday night after all the ballots are tallied, by checking out the Dillon Tribune website (www.dillontribune.com).