Elections during the pandemic
Rules for Madison County’s elections have adjusted to accommodate the statewide stay-at- home order.
Madison County has two elections in the next two months. Closures and social distancing requirements because of the novel coronavirus will likely linger during the elections on May 5 and June 2. County leaders and public health boards throughout Montana can opt to run elections by mail to help protect poll workers and voters. According to the Montana Secretary of State Office, all 56 counties have opted to run their elections by mail.
MAY 5 SPECIAL ELECTION
A school election will happen in a single Madison County district May 5. Sheridan Schools has two of candidates running for an open seat on the board. The other four public schools in the county canceled their trustee elections because one or no candidates are running.
Sheridan’s high school district extends to Alder. The school board has an Alder-seat, which Charlie Gilman currently holds.
Gilman did not run for another term on the board, and his seat was unopposed. The Sheridan School Board will elect a trustee to the seat when Gilman’s term ends.
Therese Sutton is running for her fourth term on the Sheridan School Board. Amy Pack-Young is running against Sutton. Sheridan’s school district will elect one of the two candidates May 5.
Ballots will be mailed to all active voters in the Sheridan school district April 17. Madison County’s active and inactive voters are eligible to vote in the school election. Late registration forms can be requested by mail. Late registration after April 28, must be done in person at the county election office between April 28 and May 4.
JUNE 2 PRIMARIES
Montanans will elect party candidates for the 2020 general election in its primary election June 2. Candidates for governor, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate will dwindle to one Democrat, one Republican and potentially a third-party candidate.
The primary election will be conducted through the mail. Ballots will be mailed out on May 8. Voters who still need to register must call or email the Madison County Clerk and Recorder Office. Pre-registration will close May 26. Late registration will
be available at the Administrative Building in Virginia City between May 27 and June 2.
“Ballots are checked in every day for weeks,” Madison County Election Administrator Kathleen Mumme said. “Reports are run daily and all ballots (both returned and non-issued) are kept in a very secure location at all times.”
The gubernatorial primary has four parties represented in its candidates. The Republican candidate for Montana’s governor is between Kalispell’s state senator, Al Olszewski, Montana’s U.S. Congressman, Greg Gianforte, and Montana Attorney General Tim Fox. The Democratic candidate for governor will be either lieutenant gov. Mike Cooney or businesswoman Whitney Williams. Lyman Bishop, owner of Hoplite Armor, is running for the governor seat as a Libertarian. Robert Barb from Billings is running for the seat in the Green Party.
Gov. Steve Bullock’s second term ends in 2020. Bullock is one of two Democrats running for the U.S. Senate seat. John Mues out of Loma is the opposing Democrat in the senate election. Incumbent Sen. Steve Daines is running for a second term in the senate. Daines will run against two other Republicans in the primary election – Dan Larson and former Democrat candidate for the U.S. House John Driscoll.
Susan Genise from Augusta is running for Montana’s U.S. Senate seat as a Libertarian. The Green Party has two candidates in race as well, Wendie Fredrick- son and Dennis Daneke.
Gianforte looks to the state’s executive branch and leaves U.S. House open for a new Republican candidate. Six Republicans are in the race for Montana’s sole representative in the U.S. House. Some familiar names in Montana’s political realm, like State Auditor Matt Rosendale and Secretary of State Corey Stapleton, are running for the U.S. House seat. A few with regional success in Montana politics such as, Lewis and Clark County GOP Central Committee Chairman Joe Dooling and 2015 Montana House Representative Debra Lamm, have joined the Republican ballot. Two political newcomers, Mark McGinley and John Evankovich, are also Republican candidates on the primary ballot for the U.S. House.
Running for the Democrat candidate in the U.S. House primary election is Tom Winter, house representative out of Missoula, and Kathleen Williams, former Montana House representative out of Bozeman. John Gibney from Hamilton is the sole Green Party candidate for the U.S. House seat.