Vote, fools. Vote early and vote, umm, well, just vote, OK? Ever since the mishaps of Florida 2000, many organizations are working overtime to convince us that our votes do, in fact, despite considerable evidence to the contrary (see Florida 2000), count. Locally, we’ve just seen that they do. The latest elections in our neck of the woods, for Missoula County Public Schools board trustees, booted some of the candidates who had been holding administrators’ feet to the fire, and booted them by very small margins. So, even though this week’s June 8 balloting is just the primary, take yourselves to the ballot boxes. Even if you don’t like the options, there’ll be free stickers, cheerful old ladies and cookies.

Unfortunately—or maybe it’s a relief—Montana’s got nothing to say when it comes to the question that is burning a hole in everyone’s mind, and pocket: Who is going to give Dubya a run for his money between now and November? Montana holds its primaries after every single other state has already decided that Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) will take the Democratic ticket, though he rather smugly considered delaying his acceptance of the nomination until after the democratic convention so that he could continue to fundraise. As for Democrats who would rather see Kerry elected president of France, why not cast a freebie vote for progressive Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), who paid a recent visit to Missoula and several other Montana ’burbs? Seen any other presidential candidate stump in Montana lately?

For some Big Sky leadership on the left, Brian Schweitzer just might take the nomination. But here’s the truth: There’s no fire in the belly for this moon-faced candidate who has been running for well over a year. However, if we’re gonna roll the dice in November, the farmer and his once-Republican running mate appear to be the only pair to stand a chance against most any of the Republican candidates. Experience-wise, John Vincent, Gallatin County Commissioner and former two-term Speaker of the House, and Mary Sexton, Teton County Commissioner, win hands down, and they have actual plans for reforming the state’s tax structure (more money for health care? In Montana?! Oh boy!). But Vincent is an unknown commodity statewide, and unlikely to put up much of a fight against the Republicans.

Speaking of Republicans, the primaries will sadly bring to a close the delightful jousts that we’ve seen between the top two Republican gubernatorial candidates. Both filed complaints with the state’s political practices commission against each other. Bob Brown, current secretary of state, called Billings businessman Pat Davison on choosing an out-of-stater—a Californian no less—as running mate. The commissioner agreed with Brown, but couldn’t remove the non-resident’s name from the ballot. Davison complained that Brown improperly used federally funded television ads on a new voting law to promote his candidacy. No word yet on whether that accusation holds legal water.

Meanwhile, Democrats Jon Ellingson and Bill Kennedy, and Republicans Brad Johnson, Todd O’Hair and Bob Werner will duke it out to replace Brown as secretary of state.

Nationally, America Coming Together—god bless George Soros and the millions he has dedicated to it—is working hard to defeat the one who really terrorizes us. Any number of other organizations are herding we masses to the ballot boxes, too—Rock the Vote, Get out the Vote, the League of Women Voters. We’ve said our piece. Now do your homework, then vote. That or get ready to start humming along to “Oh Canada!”

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