East Helena City Council candidates Don Dahl (left) and Kelly Harris (right)

EAST HELENA – After a recount for East Helena’s City Council seat once again resulted in a tie Monday, the council decided to take a vote next week at a special meeting to decide on its next council member.

East Helena City Attorney Peter Elverum advised the council Monday night to follow the same procedures it would normally follow when there is a vacancy on the board. That means the council will interview both Don Dahl and Kelly Harris next Monday at a public meeting. Following the interview, council members will take a vote on who they see as the best fit for the council seat.

“I think this is clearly the most open forum that you could have for deciding an election,” Elverum said. “It gives both candidates and the public an opportunity to make their case and everyone’s going to get to hear it.”

Because the law requires a majority vote, the decision must be unanimous among the three sitting council members, as Dahl will abstain from the vote.

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According to Elverum, if the council members are unable to reach a unanimous vote, the decision may be delayed until January when councilman Dahl’s term expires. At that point, only two council members have to be in agreement about the next council member.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Harris testified before the council suggesting that a roll of the dice or other random chance system would be more appropriate to decide the race. However, council members heeded Elverum’s legal advice about the vote.

Monday’s meeting is open to the public and starts at 7 p.m. at the East Helena City Hall in room 110.

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