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Cascade County Elections Office explains who receives ballots

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Posted at 6:19 PM, Oct 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-25 20:23:23-04

The municipal election will be on Tuesday, November 2, 2021. Ballots began arriving in mailboxes last week, but the Cascade County Elections Office has been receiving calls from county residents wondering where their ballots are.

Clerk & Recorder Rina Fontana Moore, the county’s chief elections administrator, says the calls and confusion are mostly coming from residents outside of city limits. She clarified that next week's election is only for municipal government and initiatives in the towns of Great Falls, Belt, and Cascade.

“You have to reside within the incorporated city limits of Great Falls,” Fontana Moore said. “So just because your address says Great Falls, like Sun Prairie addresses are all Great Falls but that is not inside the city limits - so all those folks in the outlying areas will not receive a ballot.”

For example, she points to Black Eagle. The community is in Cascade County, and adjacent to Great Falls, but not within city limits, so Black Eagle residents will not receive ballots.

“We just want to be very, very clear to the voters that if you didn't get a ballot outside the city limits, there’s a reason for that,” Moore said. “Now, if you didn't get a ballot and you're residing inside the city limits of Great Falls, please give us a call. We're not opposed to answering questions if you are concerned about anything, but we're just trying to stop the volume of calls that we have started receiving today.”

The calls distract elections office workers from processing ballots and checking signatures before the votes are counted on November 2nd.

“Once the ballots come in we’re trying to separate them, process them, and verify the signatures,” Moore said. “And so over time if you get drawn away by a phone call, that slows down the entire process. Plus it takes you away from the work that needs to be done.”

From the City of Great Falls website:

Salary of City Commission members
Pursuant to the Official Code of the City of Great Falls (OCCGF) 2.1.020 the salary of each Commissioner shall be three hundred twelve dollars ($312) per month. The salary of the Mayor shall be four hundred sixty-eight dollars ($468) per month.

Qualifications and Election of the City Commissioners
City Commissioner candidates shall be qualified electors of the City of Great Falls, and be residents of Great Falls for at least 60 days preceding the election.

City Commission
The City Commission is composed of a Mayor and four Commissioners who serve overlapping terms. In Great Falls, municipal elections are held in the uneven numbered years. The Mayor and Commissioners are elected at-large on a non-partisan basis.

The City Commission is composed of five voting members: four city commissioners and the mayor. The City Commission is the legislative and policy-making body of the City of Great Falls.

Here are extended interviews with all of the Great Falls candidates - two for Mayor, and six for City Commission.

Two Candidates for Mayor

  • Fred Burow

  • Bob Kelly

Six Candidates for two City Commission seats

  • Joshua Copeland

  • Vanessa Hayden

  • Eric Hinebauch

  • Joe McKenney

  • Paige Turoski

  • Susan Wolff