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Montana counties considering nonpartisan elections

June 19, 2019

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Commissioners in Gallatin and Lewis and Clark counties are moving toward asking voters if they want to remove party affiliations from several local elected offices.

The proposals passed on first reading at meetings on Tuesday and if they pass second reading the question will be put on the November ballot.

A law passed by the 2019 Legislature clarified the process to switch to nonpartisan elections for county races such as sheriff, commissioner, attorney and superintendent of schools.

Gallatin County Commissioner Joe Skinner has said he thinks nonpartisan elections would cause voters to put more effort into researching candidates, their qualifications and where they stand on issues. Lewis and Clark County Commissioner Susan Good Geise says it would allow people to vote for their chosen candidate in Montana’s closed primaries.

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