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For One Missoulian, Two Ballots Create a Big Problem

Two Ballots
Photo courtesy of Will Deschamps

At least one Missoulian recently found herself in the troublesome situation of receiving two official ballots. After notifying a friend, the recipient of the ballots was referred to Will Deschamps, the chairman of the Montana Republican party.

Deschamps says that the ballots both seemed to be official, although both were sent to the same address. The two ballots (shown in the above photo) also had separate precincts. Eventually, the girl asked what Deschamps describes as “the magic question.” Namely, “Which ballot do I use?

The full story of the two ballots:

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That question prompted a visit to the Missoula County Clerk and Recorder’s office. Clerk and Recorder Vicki Zaier also examined the ballots and looked them up on a database which showed that one of the ballots had been invalidated.

Apparently, multiple ballots can be sent to the same recipient when one applies for an absentee ballot on the last possible day, October 9. Because the absentee ballots must be hand mailed on that final day there is room for error. In this case it appears that someone accidentally exchanged the voters old address (and polling district) with a new address.

“Just because someone recieves two ballots doesn’t mean they get to vote twice.”  Explains Zaier. Even with the error, the ballot mailing system automatically invalidates one of the ballots.

To figure out which ballot is correct, any voter who comes into possession of two ballots should visit the Clerk and Recorder to ensure that they don’t accidentally vote with an invalidated ballot.

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