Election Lines

Gallatin County residents wait in line to register to vote and drop off ballots on Nov. 3 at the Gallatin County Courthouse.

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Gallatin County will consider raising its election department budget by a little more than $11,000 to hire a temporary, full-time election clerk for this year, with the possibility of that person becoming a permanent employee.

Gallatin County Election Administrator Charlotte Mills said two people in her department are running for her office, which prohibits her from asking for their help during the primary elections. Mills is retiring after her current term.

Eric Semerad is the recording supervisor in the Clerk and Recorder’s office and usually helps Mills with election duties as well. Semerad is running as a Democrat for the clerk and recorder/election administrator’s position in this upcoming election.

Laura Werley is the election supervisor with the county and is also running for the office as a Republican. Greg Metzger, a Republican who doesn’t work for the office, is also seeking the job. Mills said it would be unfair if the two other candidates were involved in the election process.

“That leaves me with nobody to help me with the election,” Mills said.

Mills, who is also the county Clerk and Recorder, said there is also a high probability one of the three clerks in the office may be leaving soon. The new employee would help out with the elections and also fill a vacancy in case one of the election clerks decides to leave, she said.

“It’s not a fallback,” she said. “It’s like, I got to have help.”

Mills said the department has advertised for the position and received three applications, but can’t offer the job to anyone until the county approves it. County Commissioners approved a resolution of intent earlier this week and will make a final decision Tuesday.

Commissioner Don Seifert said elections are an important part of what the county government does and that this was a way to make sure they’re efficient and fair. This is a busy time of year for the election department with school and primary elections, he said.

“We’ll support her any way we can,” Seifert said.

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Freddy Monares can be reached at 406-582-2630, or by email at fmonares@dailychronicle.com.

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