"I voted" poll boxes

BOZEMAN, Mont. - Preliminary results are in in Gallatin County, and the two ballot measures put forward by the the county - nonpartisan county elections and a new Law and Justice Center - have been shot down by voters.

So far, only the preliminary results have been released. Ballots from across the county continue to be counted, and officials say unofficial final results are expected to come in by late Tuesday evening.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment of the night for county officials was the public's decision not to pass a $59 million bond that would give the county a new public safety center. It's the third time Gallatin County has attempted to replace its existing building, but only the first time it has brought the matter to voters without the city of Bozeman attached to the project.

Projected results from Tuesday evening showed that only 44.63% of Gallatin County voters supported the new building.

The current space, which was built as a Catholic high school in the 1960s, also holds municipal courts and the Bozeman Police Department while the city waits for its new Public Safety Center, a bond that voters supported at the polls just last year, to be built.

In the past, County Commissioner Don Seifert has spoken about his concerns about the state of the Law and Justice Center and its ability to stand up to a natural disaster, such as an earthquake. On Tuesday night, he reiterated those concerns.

"I would hope that we'll take another shot at this and try to get a building built before we have a disaster."

The proposed Law and Justice Center - which would have held the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office, Victim Services, the County Coroner, District Court, Justice Court, the County Attorney's office, the Clerk of District Court, and Youth Court - also planned to accommodate Bozeman's growth with space for a fourth and fifth District Court judge.

"The biggest issue is that we're in a building that has got some very serious construction problems, that we do need a fourth and fifth District Court judge," Seifert said on Tuesday, "and it doesn't appear that at this time that we will get them."

Seifert says they may need to break the project up into smaller parts in order to get it completed.

A second measure that Gallatin County voters weighed in on on Tuesday proposed dropping all party affiliations on ballots for county positions, making such elections nonpartisan.

County commissioners decided to bring the issue to voters in August, saying they felt it was up to the voters to decide on whether party affiliations are important.

10 elected county positions would have been impacted by the change.

Projected results from Tuesday evening showed that measure was only supported by 45% of the county's voters.

For more election coverage in Gallatin County and across the state, click here.

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