City Commission rejects option to cancel mayor, judge races on November ballot

City Commissioners voted during their Aug. 20 meeting to deny the resolution of intent to cancel certain races in the November 2019 election.

Those races have less candidates running for the available seats and state law allows a local government to cancel the election and declare winners by acclamation.

The resolution would have would have provided notice that the city intended to cancel the election for mayor and Municipal Court judge since only one person filed in both of those races.

Several Neighborhood Council races are also eligible for cancellation since they have fewer candidates than the five seats per council, but city staff recommended those races remain on the ballot since the write in names are used to find people to be appointed.

The decision to cancel the election would not have been finalized until after the Sept. 3 write-in deadline.

Commissioner Owen Robinson said he didn’t think cancelling the election would save the city very much money and the Cascade County Elections Office wasn’t able to provide a specific dollar amount for the Aug. 20 commission meeting, according to city staff.

Robinson said he wanted to vote for the mayor and judge and didn’t want to be denied that priviledge.

Commissioner Bill Bronson said state law allowed the cancellation and staff was doing their job in making the recommendation as allowed under the law.

He said the cancellation makes sense in smaller communities but not in larger cities like Great Falls.

There’s “always that expectation that we have an election,” even if there’s only one candidate, Bronson said.

He said there probably could be a cost savings to canceling the election for certain races, “but I just cringe at the notion of doing this.”