An astounding number of ballots were returned in Havre’s primary election that has no contested races, with 41 percent of active voters turning in their decisions in the mail-in election.
In the only primary contest with two names, City Council Ward 4 Republican candidate John R. “Bob” Waldron, who withdrew from the race before the ballots were mailed out, received 13 votes. His Republican opponent, Matt Boucher, received 126 votes.
Under state law, because Waldron did not withdraw before the end of candidate registration, the primary had to be held even though he had left the race.
The Democratic candidate in that ward, Karen Datko, received 117 votes.
In the primary, the voter must mark and return either the Democratic ballot or the Republican ballot, sending in the other party ballot unmarked.
In the Ward 4 primary, the only race with a contested primary, the voter had to decide whether to return the Democratic ballot, with Datko, mayoral candidate Tim Solomon and nonpartisan city judge candidate Virginia Seigel the only candidates on the ballot.
Republican voters had to select between Waldron and Boucher with Republican mayoral candidate Bob Rice and Seigel the other candidates on the ballot.
The same was true in the other wards, although no Republican city council candidates were listed in those uncontested races.
Overall in the mayoral race, Solomon received 902 primary votes while Rice received 753.
The two candidates split the wards, with Rice receiving more votes in Ward 4, 139 to Solomon’s 125, while Solomon received more in Ward 1, 316-267, Ward 2, 194-162, and Ward 3, 265-185.
Seigel, the only candidate on every ballot mailed out and returned, received a total of 1,507 votes.
In the uncontested primary in Ward 1, Democratic City Council candidate Terry Lilletvedt, in her first race for public office, received 313 votes.
In Ward 2, unopposed Democratic incumbent City Council candidate Janet Trethewey received 198 votes.
The race in Ward 3 had two races. Newly appointed Democratic City Council member Jay Pyette is running for the open four-year term now held by incumbent Republican Bob Kaftan, who is not running for re-election, and incumbent Democrat Allen “Woody” Woodwick running for the two years remaining in Pyette’s seat.
In their uncontested primaries, Pyette received 273 votes and Woodwick received 279.
Woodwick is a sitting council member in Ward 4 but could not run for re-election there due to redistricting. Boucher and Datko are running for the seat he now holds.
The tone now switches to the general election, with ballots scheduled to be mailed out Oct. 15. The ballots will have to be returned to the Hill County Clerk and Recorder’s Office by 5 p.m. election day, Tuesday, Nov. 5, and the votes will be tabulated that night.
The Havre Daily News is planning to conduct a candidate forum prior to the general election ballots being mailed out.