Great Falls: School Trustee Election

Happy Earth Day – take care of it!

I vote in every election. I don’t remember the last time I did not vote – it was probably when I was in the military and my ballot did not make it to me in time. I believe that the voting process for military members and their dependents has improved some since then.

I received my “Official School Election Ballot” in the mail yesterday. I must admit, I am always a little excited when my ballot arrives. That’s my chance to have my say, and my vote counts the same as every other voter.

It’s been reported that only one name will appear on the ballot for School Trustee. The reports are correct – in the 2015 School Trustee Election the only name that appears on the ballot is Bob Moretti.

Last Saturday the Great Falls Tribune explained the issue very well:

The Great Falls School District was in a rare position this spring. Only Robert Moretti had filed for one trustee seat, so it wouldn’t be required a run election.

Trustees already had decided not to seek a special tax levy this year. So the district was poised to save $30,000 to $45,000 by not holding an election. Moretti would have simply returned to the School Board by acclamation.

Then Barbara Going of Great Falls filed as a write-in candidate, forcing an election.

The other interesting issue reported by the Tribune is Going’s late filing will mean overtime costs in the Cascade County Elections Office, and an increased election cost of perhaps $10,000.

Ouch.

The Tribune also reported that through a news release Going said, “I felt this was too important and that voters should be provided a choice.” Going also provided the Tribune her opinion about running as a write-in candidate. You can read it HERE (because I’m such a fair guy).

Last Thursday I wrote about not liking the rules for write-in and independent candidates in Montana. The deck is stacked against them, period. I could also write a few thousand words about holding school elections when they do, but I won’t.

What made me chuckle about Barbara Going and her desire to become a School Trustee is some of her supporters. I’ve received and seen several e-mails from Tea Party followers (or supporters of Tea Party philosophy) about Barbara Going. These are the same people who tout “Limited Government” and “Fiscal Responsibility.”

I can’t really see how a candidate making the School District waste $30,000 to $45,000 fits into the “Fiscal Responsibility” category. That’s money that could be used better elsewhere.

As for choices, I like choices in elections, too, but since this election is always held “the first Tuesday after the first Monday in May,” knowledgeable candidates should know that or know where to find the information (like HERE or HERE).

Barbara Going has been a pillar in the community for years and I salute her for that, but I can’t get over the fact that (although legal) she is costing the district thousands of dollars.

Note:  After this column was posted, the Tribune published a guest opinion from Bob Moretti.  You can read it HERE.  

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