After actions by Governor Steve Bullock and the Missoula County Commissioners, the decision was made to make the June 2 primary a mail only election.

Elections Administrator Bradley Seaman clarified some of the directives from the governor’s office, first providing a little good news as voters prepare to send in their ballots.

“We are going to prepay the postage on all of the ballots, so that the postage is paid by the county and not by the voters,” said Seaman. “The whole purpose of making this election all mail is to help prevent the spread of COVID 19. Many of our election workers are high risk demographics and polling places call together large numbers of people on one day to one place.”

Seaman said preparations have been made to assist voters in making sure their voter registration is correct before the primary.

“The deadline that you need to appear in person to make a change in your voter registration has been pushed back to April 27th,” he said. “That moved it back to about a week before the election. That means that voters can go online to my voter page dot com. Check the status of their registration, make sure they’re registered and that their ballot is going to the right address and fix any issues that may find prior to the election.”

Seaman also addressed the issue of allowing people to drop off ballots other than their own.

“In order to bring in another person’s ballot it is require that that person fill out a BIPA for the Ballot Interference Protection Act,” he said. “They can bring one in for a family member or a caregiver. They are allowed to bring in six ballots other than their own and only six ballots. There is a form required. In Missoula County we mail that form on the back of our instructions to help make sure that every voter has one.”

Seaman said there are no more drop boxes, but they will have a drive through ballot drop off at the Missoula County Fairgrounds location.

People who want to vote in person can come to the new elections office located on Russell Street, however, please know that there will be strict social distancing protocols, limited parking and it may take extra time to vote in person, so they encourage voters to use the mail in ballot.

County clerks say the new law allowing counties to begin opening mailed ballots on the Thursday before election day to prepare them for counting should lead to quicker results on election night.

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