With the deadline for school election ballots to be received at the Missoula County Elections Office coming up on May 3, Elections Administrator Bradley Seaman has some advice for those who have not yet mailed in their ballot.

Don’t.

Seaman spoke to KGVO News this week and offered this advice.

“The USPS, that’s the U.S. Postal Service recommends that you mail in those ballots seven days before the election,” said Seaman. “So at this point in time, we're really encouraging people to come by the elections office at 140 North Russell and drop them off, or on election day we're going to have a series of different drop off locations which will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. to help make sure that those ballots come in on time.”

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Seaman provided the latest update on the number of ballots received this week.

“We are just shy of 30 percent ballot return rate,” he said. “So the number of voters who got a ballot to the number that returned that number puts us on track with historic elections, but we have seen a lot of interest. So we're hoping that with this information, we can make sure that we get in as many ballots as possible for the upcoming elections.”

Seaman said dropping off a ballot especially helps new voters get familiar with the election process.

“With the vast majority of our voters over 80 percent cast their ballot by mail every election. This really helps voters get familiar with the process know that they need to sign on. We will check those signatures and reach out to them if there's a discrepancy, and they're always due by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day, and that postmarks do not apply. So we'll always have either ballot drop off locations, or when we come into June, you can drop it off at any one of our polling locations as well.”

Seaman provided the current update on a court case that would allow same day voter registration.

“As of today, we currently have same day voter registration available, but it's under legal review, so that could change at any time,” he said. “What we want to do is make sure that everybody gets the opportunity to vote in this election. So if you haven't seen a ballot yet, give our office a call and we recommend that you don't wait until Election Day.”

The Elections Office can be reached by calling 406-258-4751.

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