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Missoula Uncovered: A Once-A-Decade Vote

Every 10 years, Montana voters are given a unique opportunity to initiate a local government review. The question will be on the ballots this June and voters in every county and incorporated town or city in the state will be voting whether or not to move forward with it. If voters decide to move forward with a review, a Local Government Review Committee will be voted on in this November’s election. The Committee will have the power to conduct research on local government and make decisions and suggestions about local government structure that would go to voters in 2026. 

Giving voters the opportunity to conduct a review of local government and make changes is a legal requirement of The Constitution of Montana, Article XI, Section 9. But the constitution does not give an elected Committee free reign over any and all aspects of local government. Rather, they are charged with looking at local government structure and assessing if it’s meeting the needs of citizens in areas such as fair and equal representation, accessibility, and efficiency. Upon completion of a review, an elected Committee is required to “submit one alternative form of government . . . at the next general or special election,” according to the constitution.

It has been twenty years since Missoula voters decided to review and make changes to the local government, said Geoff Badenoch, a board member of the League of Women Voters of Montana. 

“I couldn’t be prouder as a Montanan to know that we have this,” Badenoch said. “And I’m really hoping that the people will understand this question on their ballot, will rise to the occasion and decide . . . for themselves whether they want to do this.”

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