Blackfoot Valley Dispatch - The Blackfoot Valley's News Source Since 1980

By News Release
Lewis & Clark County 

Lewis and Clark County Primary Election to be Conducted by Mail Ballot

 

Helena -- The Lewis and Clark County Board of County Commissioners today

voted unanimously to request the June 2, 2020 Primary Election be conducted

by mail ballot in accordance with a directive issued by the Governor last

week.

Under normal circumstances, the June 2 Primary election would be a polling

place election. In a polling place election, ballots are only mailed to

voters who have signed up to receive absentee ballots; voters who haven't

signed up for an absentee ballot must go to the polls in person on election

day to vote. After consulting with public health experts and emergency

management professionals, the Governor determined polling places pose risks

for the health and safety of all Montanans.

In the directive, Governor Bullock clarified that in-person voting would

still be available, "To be clear: in counties with mail ballots, in-person

voting is still permitted. The hope in giving counties the option to invoke

mail ballot procedures is to shift the presumption: the default would be

that Montanans can vote without leaving home, while the option to vote

in-person remains. The opposite presumption exists now, and could pose

serious public health risks under the trying and unprecedented circumstances

of the COVID-19 outbreak."

The directive further states that postage will not be required for voters to

return mail ballots, while giving counties the ability to seek reimbursement

for these costs. Additionally, the directive requires counties to establish,

implement, and enforce social distancing policies for all in-person voter

interactions.

"We are taking this pandemic very seriously and looking at all available

options for doing County business during this difficult time," said Lewis

and Clark County Commission Chair Susan Good Geise. "Elections are essential

and critical and by making the decision to do a mail ballot election, we are

encouraging everyone to vote despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This

decision protects voters, election judges and staff while still allowing the

publics voice to be heard."

The decision means anyone actively registered to vote in Lewis and Clark

County will automatically be mailed a primary ballot on May 8 to the mailing

address on file with the elections office. Those who are not registered, or

who need to update their address, have until May 26 to mail in a Montana

Voter Registration Application

n.pdf> . Registration can be verified online at http://www.MyVoterPageMT.com

or by calling the county elections office at

406-447-8339.

While the shelter in place order is in effect, the elections office is still

open, but is limiting occupancy. In accordance with state and federal

guidelines, the office recommends citizens take advantage of options to

conduct business by phone, email, fax, or mail. More information is

available on the office's website at http://www.lccountymt.gov/car/elections

.

"We appreciate the actions and support of the County Commissioners and

Montana's Governor and are working swiftly to plan for socially-distanced

in-person voting," said Paulette Dehart, Treasurer/Clerk and Recorder and

Election Administrator "From line-management to drive-up options, we are

thankful that we can provide services that are safe for our voters and our

staff."

For more information about upcoming elections, contact Audrey McCue at

406-439-3592 or [email protected] .

 

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