Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Time for voters to tune into local, state races

| September 27, 2020 12:00 AM

The Daily Inter Lake kicks off its general election coverage today with profiles on two newcomers to local politics who are vying for the Flathead County Commission District 1 seat held by outgoing Commissioner Phil Mitchell. Given the county’s rapid growth over the past several years, this is an important local race, as the new commissioner on the three-person board will be making all kinds of land-use decisions and guiding growth over the course of the six-year term.

While the commissioner race is the only big county contest on the Nov. 3 general election ballot, there are many state legislative races we’ll be featuring from now until absentee ballots are mailed on Oct. 9. And we’ll also help you understand the two constitutional initiatives on the ballot that, if passed, will legalize and tax recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older.

During a presidential election year, it’s easy for that high-profile race to overshadow the entire election, but truth be told, our local government and state races affect our lives just as much as the person who will occupy the White House for the next four years.

All of the Inter Lake’s election stories will be posted on the newspaper’s website, and we’ll be publishing an election guide at some point, too, to give readers an extra resource as they contemplate their ballot choices.

Much ado has been made about Flathead County opting for an all mail-ballot election, due to concerns about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Our local election officials and the U.S. Post Office have assured us that we can expect a professional, seamless process for the election because the two entities have worked hand-in-hand perfecting the mail-in ballot system.

It seems Flathead County voters already have the utmost faith in the mail-ballot system, with nearly 70% of the county’s electorate already opting for absentee ballots.

Flathead County Election Office Manager Monica Eisenzimer told the Inter Lake recently the county has yet to experience an outright incident of voter fraud. And because early voting is becoming more popular, the post office and Election Department continue to hone the process.

“We are partners and we work together all the time on this, constantly,” Eisenzimer told the Inter Lake. “Over the years more people have requested absentee ballots so as that has grown in popularity we have had plenty of time to work out this system. We have it down.”

Voters can also do their part by learning about candidates and issues sooner rather than later. Mail your ballots early; don’t procrastinate. It’s human nature to wait until the last minute, even for important elections, but we can’t stress enough that assertive action by each voter will help ensure an election process that runs smoothly and fairly for all.