Darrell Ehrlick

(Daily Montanan) The Missoula County Elections Office announced on Monday that an error on 17,000 Missoula County ballots will feature a race that residents will not be eligible to vote in.

The race, Montana Public Service Commission District 4, is for a seat currently held by Commissioner Jennifer Fielder, a Republican. She is running for re-election and has no primary challenger. However, the Missoula County voters who received the race on their ballot will not have their votes counted for that race alone because they are no longer in the district.

The “proofing error” was due, in part, to a reshaped Public Service Commission map that was redrawn as part of the decennial redistricting process.

“Because the District 4 race is uncontested on all four party ballots — Democrat, Green, Libertarian and Republican — the error will have no impact on the outcome of the primary election,” said Elections Administrator Bradley Seaman.

The 17,000 voters reside in the northeastern part of Missoula County, and those voters are in Public Service Commission District 5, which is not up for election. That PSC district is represented by Annie Bukacek. All five members of the Public Service Commission are Republicans.

Ballot counting machines will be programmed to make sure the votes in this PSC race will not be counted, Seaman said.

Residents who want to learn more about the process are invited to observe the equipment testing at 9:45 a.m., May 28 at the Elections Center, located at 140 North Russell Street in Missoula.