The Missoula County Elections Office announced on Tuesday that a mail-in only municipal primary election will be held on Tuesday, September 14.

KGVO spoke with Missoula County Elections Administrator Bradley Seaman who provided details of the primary election.

“It takes a little bit of time to help get everything set up and processed and prepared for an upcoming election, so last week the city council had passed a resolution which had requested that we run a primary election for them,” said Seaman. “They actually didn't meet the threshold required, so the elections office had canceled that primary election, but then they did overrule us and called for a primary election for the mayor in city council for Ward one and City Council for Ward six.”

Seaman said one of the city council candidates did not completely fill out the official paperwork, so there will be changes on some of the ballots.

“We did have a candidate who did not complete all of the candidate filing requirements,” he said. “So in Ward six, what we're going to have is the mayor’s race and then the city council Ward six race with two candidates. The top two vote getters will go on to the general election, so it'll be kind of like a straw poll for those two candidates for Ward six.”

Seaman confirmed that the September primary will be a mail-in only election.

“This will be an all mail election, so everybody who is a registered voter in the city limits will have a ballot automatically sent to their address on file,” he said. “However, ballots are not forwardable. So if a voter has a ballot sent to an address they're no longer at it'll come back to our office and we'll send them a notice letting them know that their ballot was returned as undeliverable.”

With the recent charges of voter fraud that went all the way to the Montana Secretary of State, Seaman emphasized the transparency of the upcoming primary, utilizing all the technology necessary to avoid any such problems.

“We have the ability to livestream our counting center,” he said. “For each election, we've been running a live stream on our website, where voters can come and check to see the process in our vote count center. There's been a lot of confusing misinformation around the election, and so this will be a great chance for people to come in, see this process and feel confident and how our elections are run. So we'll be doing a press release and as we get closer we’ll invite members of the public, candidates, elected officials and anybody who would like to know more about our elections, to come and tour the facilities and see the processes we use so that they can feel confident in their vote.”

Due to recent changes in state law, Missoula residents can no longer register to vote or make changes to their voter registration on Election Day. However, voters may still replace an absentee ballot or pick up an undeliverable ballot on Election Day at the Elections Center.

 

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