Montrose City Council on Tuesday night voted unanimously to change municipal election rules to give the city the power to cancel an election when there aren’t contested seats.

According to the language in the ordinance, the city council can instruct the city clerk to cancel an election 65 days before Election Day when “there are not more candidates than offices to be filled at such election.”

Scott Riba, former Downtown Development Authority chair, spoke to the council at Tuesday’s regular council meeting during a public comment period, and expressed some concern that 65 days may not give write-in candidates enough time to decide whether they’d like to run, or in some cases may not know there is a 65-day deadline.

“That would lessen the opportunity for a write-in candidate (to declare),” Riba said, commenting that he believes the city has the option of canceling an election 18 days prior to the election.

City Clerk Lisa DelPiccolo explained the city has to approve a ballot by a certain date for overseas voters who may be casting a ballot and that the 65-day period is in accordance with state statute.

DelPiccolo also said the city would save money by canceling uncontested elections by avoiding printing ballots and avoiding using staff time for them.

In the event the city decides to cancel an election, the person, or people, running uncontested would be named the victor by a city council resolution, according to the ordinance passed Tuesday night.

The city will have to approve the ordinance on second reading at its next meeting for it to become official.

Justin Tubbs is the Montrose Daily Press managing editor. 

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