More Answers on Mail-in Ballots and Upcoming General Election
Last Friday, Missoula County Elections Administrator Bradley Seaman appeared on the KGVO Talk Back show to answer listeners’ questions about the upcoming all-mail general election.
Seaman said there is basically no difference between an absentee ballot (which is specifically requested by a registered voter) and a mail-in ballot (that all registered voters will receive in October).
“A mail in election is just like the last five elections that we've run here,” said Seaman. “This election, the primary, the school, the municipal, as well as our Lolo School election that's going on right now are all the same. All voters get a ballot. Those ballots are treated the same an absentee or a mail in ballot, they're treated the exact same way. All of those ballots that go out to the voters are tracked through for the federal election on the My Voter Page MT dot com, and then all of the signatures are verified in the database on all of those ballots as they come back in.”
Whenever you mail in a form to us, it has a signature on the bottom, and we scan that into the Secretary of State's database, so we have multiple signatures,” he said. “If we can't match it to one of those signatures, what we're going to do is notify that voter.
Seaman explained how a ballot is accepted or rejected.
“The first tool is definitely that MY Voter Page MT.com, making sure that it went to the right address, making sure that after you mailed it, it has been accepted,” he said. “What it means to be accepted is that we have taken that ballot in and started our process of recording all of the ballots that we've received. We first scan it in, then we double check that signature, and that's where we would either accept or reject a ballot. The only reason that we would reject those ballots at this point in time is if you forgot to sign that envelope, or it didn't match what was on file in the voter database.”
Seaman said his office is constantly working to make sure voters’ signatures are correctly signed and verified.
“Whenever you mail in a form to us, it has a signature on the bottom, and we scan that into the Secretary of State's database, so we have multiple signatures,” he said. “If we can't match it to one of those signatures, what we're going to do is notify that voter, and so that's why we're really encouraging people to vote those ballots and mail them in as soon as they can. Because that gives us the most amount of time to say you forgot to sign your envelope. We can't count that ballot. But here's a form you can sign to make sure your ballot does get counted.”
All this week, KGVO’s Montana Morning news show will share more answers to voters’ questions from Elections Administrator Bradley Seaman.