Belgrade runs unique election in Gallatin Co.


BOZEMAN, Mont. - Belgrade is gearing up for Election Day. The city runs a unique election.

"It's not what they call election at-large. It's election by ward. The mayor however is going to be elected city-wide," said Gallatin County elections administrator Charlotte Mills.

Belgrade is the only city in Gallatin County that still holds this type of election. The city is split up by three wards. In elections for council members, each ward has its own race. Candidates must live in the ward they wish to represent. People can only vote for the candidate in their ward.

"The voters are going to get the actual ballot for their ward. If they have any questions or think it's wrong, they need to call our office. We have maps, streets addresses and everything tied together by ward." Mills said.

On the ballot for mayor is Russell Nelson running for re-election with no opponent.

In the council member race, there are five total candidates. Running for ward one is Kenneth Smith and Sarah Ude. Ward two is uncontested with Kristine Menicucci. Virjeana Brown and Brad Cooper are in the race for ward three.

Mills said it has been years since a ward went without a candidate. When it does happen, the write-in votes are counted.

"We take the person that's written in the most and then we contact them to see if they're interested in taking the position. If they are, they would come in, fill out the paperwork and pay the necessary fees," Mills said.

Montana cities get a chance to reconsider their voting system every 10 years when they get information from the Census. The next one is taken in 2020.

Ballots will be sent out to Belgrade voters on Wednesday, October 18. They are due back at the elections office on November 7 by 8 p.m.

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