No local cities or towns will hold municipal primaries this fall as there aren’t enough open offices and candidates to require it, said county election manager Casey Hayes.

Instead, the 28 candidates across the 11 races in Belgrade, Bozeman, Manhattan, Three Forks and West Yellowstone will face off in the general election Nov. 5. The final number of candidates won’t be determined for a few months because candidates could drop out and residents could register as write-in candidates.

As it stands, the election generating the most interest is the West Yellowstone Town Council, which has six candidates vying for two seats. Deputy Mayor Greg Forsythe is not seeking reelection, leaving his seat up for grabs. Incumbent Pierre Martineau is seeking to retain his seat, and Heather Johnson, Jeff Mathews, Jeff McBirnie, Cole Parker and Travis Watt are hoping to join the council.

A handful of races are uncontested — Belgrade City Council Ward 3, Belgrade mayor, Bozeman city judge and Three Forks City Council.

In addition to electing local candidates, voters will likely be asked two countywide ballot questions.

One will ask whether voters would like to switch county elections from partisan to nonpartisan, making them similar to municipal elections. If approved, there would be a single primary for the 10 county offices — three county commissioners, county attorney, clerk of district court, sheriff, treasurer, auditor, superintendent of schools and clerk and recorder — and the two candidates with the most votes in each race would advance to the general election.

The commissioners will also place a bond issue on the ballot that will ask voters to approve financing for the replacement of the Law and Justice Center, which doesn’t meet the county’s needs or safety standards. The commissioners have yet to finalize the project’s cost.

Perrin Stein can be reached at 406-582-2648 or at pstein@dailychronicle.com. Follow her on Twitter @PerrinStein.

Perrin Stein is the county, state and federal government reporter for the Chronicle.

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