City elections: One week left to file as write-in

 

The possibilities that looked nearly endless a few weeks ago in Dillon’s upcoming city election have, for now, funneled down to a single candidate in each of Dillon’s four City Council seat races.

But a week remains for others to expand those possibilities by filing as official write-in candidates in those races—or in any other city race this election.

Richard Achter (Ward 1), William R. Shafer (Ward 3) and Nils Troedsson (Ward 4) filed as official write-in candidates over the past month for the three Dillon City Council seats no one had filed for by the July 27 deadline to get inked onto the ballot for the Nov. 5 election.

All three are now eligible to have write-in votes cast in their names in their respective wards. 

With no one inked onto the ballot in Ward 1, Ward 3 or Ward 4—and no one else yet eligible to gain write-in votes—Achter, Shafer and Troedsson could conceivably win the Council seats just by casting write-in votes for themselves.

But others can still get into those races by filing a Declaration of Intent as a write-in candidate at the Beaverhead County Courthouse with Beaverhead County Clerk and Recorder Debra L. Scott by the Oct. 10 deadline.

Had no one filed as a write-in candidate, a voter in one of those wards could have written in the name of anyone.

“Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, anyone,” said Scott, who would have then been forced to confirm which write-in votes went to people who actually existed and lived in the ward they received votes in—and then whether the people who received those votes had any interest in serving in the positions they’d received votes for.

“If nobody files as a write in, it’s pretty time consuming for us,” said Scott last month, noting she had never seen a local election that attracted so few candidates.

Each of Dillon’s four wards is represented by two City Council members, with four of those eight Dillon City Council seats up for election this year.

Lynn Westad was the only candidate to file by the July 27 deadline to get on the ballot for the Ward 2 seat she currently holds.

But her fellow City Council incumbents with terms set to expire this year—Harvey Lake (Ward 1), Ray White (Ward 3) and Randy Gustine (Ward 4)—all chose not to run for reelection.

City Council incumbents Bob Cottom (Ward 1), Dan Nye (Ward 2), David Spehar (Ward 3) and Derek Gore (Ward 4) do not face reelection until 2015.

Two candidates—incumbent Marty Malesich and former Dillon City Councilperson Mike Klakken—filed in time to get on the ballot for the Dillon mayor’s race.

Klakken finished second to Malesich four years ago in the race to become Dillon mayor, despite running as a write-in candidate in the general election against Malesich and Tom Straugh, who had qualified for official spots on the ballot by finishing first and second in a field of five primary candidates.

Incumbent John F. Gutcheck will be the only name on the ballot in the race for Dillon City Judge.

But anyone wishing to file as a candidate for any city position on the ballot in the Nov. 5 election still has until next Thursday to throw his or her hat into the write-in ring.