Sunday, March 18, 2018

Rep. Mandeville’s take on special election surprising

I read Forrest Mandeville’s letter to the SCN last week with interest and surprise. Regarding the timing of the special election, Governor Bullock is addressing a real need in scheduling the special election as soon as possible. We are currently without a voice in the House of Representatives. Too many issues of great importance to Montana and the nation are being discussed and voted upon and Montana has no representative. I, along with many other Montanans, would like to choose our representative as soon as possible.
Neither party has the advantage in this election, both are equally disadvantaged. But the people themselves benefit by having the election as soon as possible so that we have a voice in the House of Representatives as soon as possible.
Secondly, I am puzzled by his opposition to SB 305. On the same page in the SCN as Mandeville’s letter, the county commissioners were recorded as unanimously approving the mail-in ballot election. I am surprised that the leaders of the Republican Party in Stillwater County would be in disagreement on this issue.
I agree with the commissioners and note that this bill does not disenfranchise anyone — no one will be deprived of their right to vote. This bill changes only the manner of ballot, not the actual voting right. Furthermore, SB 305 gives counties the option of using — or not using — the mail-in ballot.
Many counties are supporting the bill because it will reduce their costs, which is advantageous to taxpayers. The cost of returning the ballot to the individual is minimal and the amount saved by county governments could be significant.
I urge Rep. Mandeville to listen to his constituents and reconsider his position on SB 305.

Kathleen Ralph