A BILL FOR AN ACT ENTITLED: "AN ACT Generally revising laws ALLOWING A LOCAL GOVERNMENT WITH SELF-GOVERNING POWERS TO PROVIDE FOR RANKED-CHOICE VOTING IN NONPARTISAN, MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS; ALLOWING FOR THE USE OF RANKED-CHOICE VOTING TO BE APPROVED BY THE ELECTORATE OR BY LOCAL GOVERNMENT ORDINANCE; ALLOWING FOR CHANGES IN A LOCAL GOVERNMENT CHARTER TO PROVIDE FOR RANKED-CHOICE VOTING; AMENDING SECTIONS 7-1-114, 7-3-103, 7-3-149, 7-3-708, 13-10-209, 13-12-203, 13-14-111, AND 13-14-115, MCA; and PROVIDING A DELAYED EFFECTIVE DATE."
NEW SECTION. Section 1. Ranked-choice voting -- nonpartisan, municipal elections. (1) (a) A local government with self-governing powers may allow for ranked-choice voting in nonpartisan, municipal elections.
(3) In a nonpartisan, municipal election that allows for ranked-choice voting, if a candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, the candidate is declared the winner. If no candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated. First-preference votes cast for the failed candidate are eliminated, and the second-preference choices indicated on those ballots are then treated as first-preference votes. A new tally is conducted to determine whether any candidate has won a majority of the adjusted votes. The process is repeated until a candidate wins an outright majority.
(a) all state laws providing for the incorporation or disincorporation of cities and towns, for the annexation, disannexation, or exclusion of territory from a city or town, for the creation, abandonment, or boundary alteration of counties, and for city-county consolidation;
(3) (a) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1)(g) and except as provided in subsection (3)(b), self-governing local government units are not subject to the mill levy limits established by state law.
"7-3-103. Amendment of self-government charter or adopted alternative form of government -- proposed change in type of election -- election. (1) An amendment to a self-government charter or an adopted alternative form of government may only be made by submitting the question of amendment to the electors of the local government as provided in 7-3-149. An amendment approved by the electors becomes effective on the first day of the local government fiscal year following the fiscal year of approval unless the question submitted to the electors provides otherwise.
(4) (a) The question to change the type of election held under an elected county official government provided for in 7-3-111 from being conducted on a partisan basis to being conducted on a nonpartisan basis or from being conducted on a nonpartisan basis to being conducted on a partisan basis may, by ordinance, be submitted to the electorate of the local government as provided in 7-3-149.
"7-3-149. Election on alteration of form of government. (1) The Except as provided in [section 1(1)], the governing body shall call an election on the question of an alteration of the form of government, a change in a plan of government, or, for an elected county official government, a change in the type of election proposed pursuant to 7-3-103(4) upon:
(b) In any election involving the question of consolidation, each question must be submitted to the electors in the county and requires an affirmative vote of a simple majority of the votes cast in the county on the question for adoption. There is no requirement for separate majorities in local governments voting on consolidation.
(c) In any election involving the question of county merger, the questions must be submitted to the electors in the counties affected and require a majority of the votes cast on the questions in each affected county for adoption.
"7-3-708. Limitations on charter provisions. (1) Charter provisions may not conflict with the provisions of part 1, chapter 1, which establish statutory limitations on the powers of self-government units.
(2) Charter Except as provided in [section 1], charter forms are subject to state laws establishing election, initiative, and referendum procedures; and charters shall may not contain provisions establishing election, initiative, and referendum procedures.
"13-10-209. Arrangement and preparing of primary ballots. (1) (a) Ballots for a primary election must be arranged and prepared in the same manner and number as provided in chapter 12 for general election ballots, except that there must be separate ballots for each political party entitled to participate. The name of the political party must appear at the top of the separate ballot for that party and need not appear with each candidate's name.
(3) Subsection (2) does not apply to elections for precinct committee offices. If more than one candidate files for a precinct committee office from a party that will not have a primary ballot prepared, that party shall select the candidate to fill the office.
(4) If, pursuant to subsection (2), in a primary election held in an even-numbered year a primary ballot for a political party is not prepared, the secretary of state shall certify that a primary election is unnecessary for that party and shall instruct the election administrator to certify the names of the candidates for that party for the general election ballot only.
(5) The separate ballots for each party must have the same appearance. Each set of party ballots must bear the same number. If prepared as a separate ballot, the nonpartisan ballot may have a different appearance than the party ballots but must be numbered in the same order as the party ballots.
(6) If a ballot issue is to be voted on at a primary election, it may be placed on the nonpartisan ballot or a separate ballot. A separate ballot may have a different appearance than the other ballots in the election but must be numbered in the same order.
"13-12-203. Appearance of candidate's name and party designation on ballot. (1) Subject to [section 1] and 13-12-202 and except as provided in 13-10-209 for nonpartisan offices and 13-10-303 for certain other candidates, in partisan elections, candidates' names must appear under the title of the office sought, with the name of the party in not more than three words appearing opposite or below the name.
(2) Subject to [section 1] and 13-12-202, in nonpartisan general elections, the candidates' names must appear under the title of the office sought, with no description or designation appearing with the name unless partisan and nonpartisan offices appear on the same ballot. In such a case, the names of nonpartisan candidates must appear with the word "Nonpartisan".
"13-14-111. Application of general laws. Except Subject to [section 1] and except as otherwise provided in this chapter, candidates for nonpartisan offices, including judicial offices, must be nominated and elected according to the provisions of this title."
"13-14-115. Preparation and distribution of nonpartisan primary ballots -- determination on conducting primary. (1) The election administrators shall arrange, prepare, and distribute primary ballots for nonpartisan offices, designated "nonpartisan primary ballots". The ballots must be arranged and prepared as provided in 13-10-209 and be without political designation.
(2) (a) Except as provided in subsection (2)(b) and subject to [section 1], the election administrator of a political subdivision may determine that a local nonpartisan portion of a primary election need not be held if:
(c) If the election administrator determines that a primary election must be held pursuant to subsection (2)(a) or (2)(b), the election administrator shall conduct the primary election only for the nonpartisan offices that have a sufficient number of candidates that have filed to be elected to that office.
(d) If the election administrator determines that a primary election need not be held pursuant to subsection (2)(a), (2)(b), or (2)(c) for a nonpartisan office, the administrator shall give notice to the governing body that a primary election will not be held for that office.
(3) The governing body may require that a primary election be held for a nonpartisan office if it passes a resolution not more than 10 days after the close of filing by candidates for election stating that a primary election must be held for that office."
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Prepared by Montana Legislative Services