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Voters will make their choice on library district

by SCOTT SHINDLEDECKER
The Western News | May 31, 2024 7:00 AM

Lincoln County residents who haven’t voted by mail will head to the polls next Tuesday for the 2024 primary election.

Polls open at 7 a.m. Tuesday, June 4 and close at 8 p.m. 

There are three polling places in the county, including:

- Eureka – High Road Youth Center – 1295 2nd Ave. E, Eureka, MT – Precincts 1, 2, 4, 15 and 16;

- Troy – Troy Activity Center – Troy Activity Center 4th Street, Troy, MT – Precincts 5, 6, 7, 8, 14;

- Libby – Memorial Center – 111 E. Lincoln Blvd., Libby, MT – Precincts 9, 10, 11, 12, 13.

Voters may drop off their ballot at a secure drop location on Election Day, including at Troy Dispatch, Eureka Dispatch, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Lobby or at the Election Center in Libby.

Mail ballots are due at the Election Center at 418 Mineral Ave., Libby, by 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 4. Remember, postmarked by then does not count – it needs to be at the Elections Center by 8 p.m. 

Voters are asked to hand deliver their ballot to the Elections Center in Libby if they couldn't be mailed by May 28.

Election Administrator Melanie Howell said the ballot printing went smoothly and the judges that have been hired, "are phenomenal." Howell said 90 judges were trained. She added that about 2,000 mail ballots were returned as of Wednesday morning and 7,000 were sent out.

On the ballot is one of the most hotly discussed items in the county - the Lincoln County Library District.

Due to the county’s budget shortfalls, library officials are seeking a separate district. The county library system was formed nearly 104 years ago and supported by county property owners. But various factors, including the failure of the lumber industry combined with rising costs, such as salaries and health insurance, have led library officials and commissioners to seek a different way to fund the system. 

Voters will decide some significant races ahead of the Nov. 5 general election.

Here are some of the noteworthy races on the Republican ticket.

For the Lincoln County Commission District 3 seat, Republican incumbent Josh Letcher is facing Noel Duram. Doug Davies is the Democratic candidate for the seat and Brian Phillips is the Independent candidate in the fall. The term is for six years.

For the 2-year term of county Clerk Recorder, Corrina Brown, who was appointed following the resignation of Robin Benson in 2023, will face fellow Republican Lorrene Henson.

Republican voters will choose representatives for the general election in a wide array of races.

In the newly created House District 2, which stretches from Marion in Flathead County to Libby in Lincoln County, two Republicans are vying for the right to be on the ballot in November. They are Libby’s Tom Jenkins and Marion’s Tom Millett.

For state Auditor, James Brown faces John Jay Willoughby, and for state Superintendent of Public Instruction, Sharyl Allen opposes Susie Hedalen.

For Democrats, Doug Davies is on the ballot for District 3 Commissioner in Lincoln County. In the state Governor’s race, Ryan Busse faces Jim Hunt.

More information about elections in Lincoln County can be found at https://lincolncountymt.us/.