Flathead County requests court void recent municipal election
(Daily Montanan) Flathead County is asking for a do-over for four Kalispell City Council races.
In a court filing Friday, the Flathead County Election Administrator asked the Flathead County District Court for an order to annul, meaning void, the Nov. 7 election and hold a new election for the four races in question at a future date to be determined.
More than 170 voters submitted ballots with incorrect candidate information in the last election, with a total of 1,413 eligible voters, or 8% of the total eligible voters in Kalispell, impacted. This happened because new ward boundaries were not updated in the election system. One city race in Kalispell was won with a margin of fewer than 100 votes. The filing said the county will be fronting the cost of another election.
The filing said as of Friday, Clerk Debbie Pierson didn’t know of any current challenges to this election in district court and statute permits a year to annul election results.
“… Because of the manifest error in the election process for the City of Kalispell, the Election Administrator feels it is her duty to attempt to annul this election and conduct a new one,” the filing read.
Pierson said in a statement Friday integrity throughout every step of the election process is paramount.
“To this degree, I feel it is essential that the election is redone, and ballots are issued according to current ward boundaries,” Pierson said. “It is vitally important that the public is confident that fair, accurate, and transparent elections are being conducted in Flathead County.”