County Administrators Gearing up for Upcoming Elections

The Flathead County Election Department received training last week from the Montana Secretary of State's office on election software and best practices. 

By Denali Sagner
Sheriff’s deputies stand inside the Flathead County Election Department during the midterm election on Nov. 8, 2022. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

With local, state and federal races on the horizon, county officials are preparing a busy election season. 

The Flathead County Election Department this week received training from the Montana Secretary of State’s office that included on-site instruction on the state’s voter registration system, election management and important laws and statutes. Deb Pierson, Flathead County election administrator; Adrienne Chmelik, election manager; and other members of the county’s elections office received the training from two state officials. 

Chmelik told the Beacon the training “was extremely helpful” in preparing her staff for the election cycle. Receiving up-to-date instruction was especially critical, Chmelik said, given that multiple members of the county’s election department are new to their roles. 

“As hundreds of thousands of Montanans prepare to head to the polls this June and November, we’re honored to work with our county partners to help ensure our voters are given a great election experience that’s safe, secure, transparent, and accessible,” Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen said in a press release. 

“Thank you to Deb, Adrienne, and the team for their hard work and dedication on behalf of the voters in Flathead County.” 

Chmelik said that in addition to receiving helpful training, the office has received around 400 applications for election judges. Judges play a critical role in ensuring ballots are properly submitted, identification is verified and the elections process runs smoothly. The election manager said the county is “right at about where we need to be” in terms of soliciting election judges. 

Voters on May 7 will vote in school district and special purpose district elections. These elections include school bonds and levies, school board trustee elections and trustee elections for special districts within the county. Among the school districts running levies and bonds are West Valley, Kalispell, Columbia FallsKila and Whitefish.

The following special purpose district elections will take place: Big Mountain Resort Tax District creation and trustee elections; Evergreen Rural Fire District levy election; Hungry Horse County Water and Sewer District trustee election; Lakeside County Water and Sewer District trustee election; and Somers County Water and Sewer District trustee election. 

In addition to school and special district elections, the county on May 7 will hold a re-do election for Kalispell Ward 1 and Ward 2 city councillors after a clerical error last fall sent incorrect ballots to roughly 8% of the city’s voters.

Party primary elections will take place on June 4. Voters will choose between candidates in Republican and Democratic primaries for president, U.S. House and Senate, state Legislature and other state and local offices. See who’s running for Legislature in the Flathead here, and who’s running for county offices here. For those voting by-mail, absentee ballots will be mailed on May 10. 

The general election will be held on Nov. 5. State, federal and local offices will be on the ballot, including U.S. president, Montana governor, U.S. senator, U.S. representative, state Legislature, one Flathead County commissioner. For those voting by-mail, absentee ballots will be mailed on October 11. 

After a recent redistricting process, voters will see reconfigured legislative districts and new precincts. Flathead County now has 56 voting precincts, up from the 42 it previously had. A map of new voting precincts can be viewed below. An old precinct map can be found here. Flathead County voters can view their precinct, as well as state House and Senate district here. Voters can check their voter registration here.

For more information, call the Flathead County Election Department at (406) 758-5535.

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