Montana’s first ever mail-only federal primary election ballots will be mailed out on Friday, according to Missoula County Elections Administrator Bradley Seaman.

“With COVID 19 this year and the governor’s directive, the election will be all mail,” said Seaman. “Tomorrow, we’re going to mail out almost 70,000 ballots to voters registered in the county. We’ll send out those ballots on Friday and they’re due back by June 2nd at 8:00 p.m. and postmarks don’t apply to ballots, so you need to make sure that we receive them by 8:00 p.m.”

Seaman said there are two new twists to the all mail ballots.

“For this election we did two new things,” he said. “First, we put postage on every single envelope, so as soon as you get that ballot you can mark your vote, and put it in the mail back to us. We get a lot of ballots dropped off in person from voters who say they miss getting the ‘I Voted’ sticker at the polling place. It took a couple of extra steps, but we were able to put an ‘I Voted’ sticker in with every single ballot being mailed out to voters, so hopefully that will encourage them to vote that ballot and get it in the mail.”

Seaman said there is another wrinkle in this all mail ballot, but it only affects one district.

“In Senate District 45 due to a directive from the Secretary of State, that ballot looks different,” he said. “In Senate District 45 it only includes a ballot for that Libertarian Party for Senate District 45, our county races, non-partisan races and the ballot issue. It does not list the statewide race or the Presidential race, our federal races on there either.”

Seaman said the instructions on that ballot came directly from the Secretary of State in Helena.

“We were told by our chief election official what races to put on there, and we are following that directive to the teeth,” he said. “So, for voters are concerned that that is shortened we just direct them to the Secretary of State’s Office and they can vote for any candidate of their choosing in the general election in November.”

In the primary, you must choose just one ballot, Republican or Democrat and vote a straight ticket. In the general election you may mix and match parties on the all-mail ballot.

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