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District, county officials address ballot confusion



A sample ballot from one of 18 different ballots sent out to Big Sky residents for the May 5 elections. View ballot variations at the link below.

By Mira Brody EBS staff

BIG SKY – Big Sky residents received mail-in ballots this week and residents have noticed that some ballots may look different from others. It depends on an individual’s physical address, says Casey Hayes election manager for Gallatin County.

“The different ballots are determined by where the resident is located,” Hayes said in an April 23 phone interview. “Some [residents] are in all of the special districts, some may only be in one or two. For example, if you’re not in the water and sewer district, you would not have a water and sewer measure on your ballot.”

Daniel Bierschwale, executive director for the Big Sky Resort Area District, assured voters that if they live in the resort tax district and are registered to vote, they will have the 1 percent ballot measure and board election on their ballot. If they do not see the measure, it simply means they do not live within the resort tax district boundary and cannot vote on that particular measure. The same goes for each of the three remaining Big Sky districts with measures this special election.

Eric Semerad, Gallatin County Clerk-Recorder, says this has been an additionally confusing year because of their need to rotate candidate names due to the state’s use of precinct-level rotation.

At the bottom of each ballot a code designates which districts apply to an individual voter. For example, most residents will see “BS_ALL,” meaning they are in all districts, while others will see something similar to “BS EL_RFD_RES,” referring to a resident in Big Sky who is in the elementary school, fire department and resort tax districts only.

“This is the beauty of being unincorporated,” said Ron Edwards, general manager of the Big Sky Water and Sewer District. “This a real thing here in Big Sky, you’ve got all these entities and special units, so when they do these elections the voter pools all are different.”

Big Sky residents can contact the County Elections Office with questions about what district they are in by calling (406) 582-3060.

Sample Ballots

District Maps:

Resort Tax District

Fire District

Water and Sewer District

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