With the approach of fall comes the opportunity for citizens to not only enjoy football and foliage, but also exercise the right to vote.
By Lisa Kilsdonk
Posted Sept. 7, 2012
With the approach of fall comes the opportunity for citizens to not only enjoy football and foliage, but also exercise the right to vote. According to the office of Fallon County Clerk and Recorder and Election Administrator, the spring primary had an extremely low voter turnout, well below 40 percent. The completion of the primary does not, however, completely close a race.
According to Montana law, write-in candidates have until Sept. 28 to declare candidacy and pay the appropriate filing fee. The Write-In Candidate Declaration of Intent and Oath of Candidacy form is two pages long, requires the candidate sign in front of a notary, and calls for the candidate to list any variations from their formal name by which voters may refer to them including initials, nicknames, and derivatives or diminutives.
Obviously, as the term implies, candidates who file as write-in, do not have their names appear on the printed ballot. Furthermore, although a paper with registered write-in candidates is displayed at the election judges table, the judges cannot point the paper out.
If someone s name is written in on ballots, but that individual has not legally declared their candidacy, none of the votes will be credited to them even if the majority of the ballots contain that person s name.
Since write-ins aren t placed on the ballot, they have to campaign hard in order to ensure that voters know who they are and what particular elected post they are running for. Clerk and Recorder Brenda Wood estimated that Fallon County averages about one write-in candidate per election. Past write-in candidates have used typical campaign techniques such as yard signs, newspaper and radio ads, and door-to-door contacts with their desired constituency. Some have gone a step further and provided voters with pre-printed labels to place on the ballot.
Write-ins also have to abide by the same campaigning restrictions as regular candidates, including removing all signs/campaign material from within 100 feet of a polling place on election day.
Fallon County s polling places include the Exhibit Hall at the Fairgrounds (Precincts 1, 2, 3), Clerk and Recorder s office at City Hall in Baker, Plevna Fire Hall (Precinct 4), Willard Hall (Precinct 7), and Bisher Hall (Precinct 8). Election day falls on November 6.