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Missoula's city-wide elections will again be mail-in ballot only - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Missoula's city-wide elections will again be mail-in ballot only

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MISSOULA - Missoulians will elect a mayor, seven city council members and a municipal judge in November, and once again they'll do it all by mail.

The move continues a trend seen in Missoula's municipal elections for the past five cycles, a tradition that was unanimously upheld during Monday's Missoula City Council meeting: 

The ballots will begin to arrive in mailboxes citywide in October and can either be mailed back in or delivered to one of the city's several ballot drop-off stations.

Unlike absentee ballots -- which are only sent to those who specifically request them -- this mail-in only election will have ballots sent to every registered voter in the city. 

The move will save some money, and according to the Missoula County Elections Office, it should increase voter turnout.

"When city council elections or city-wide elections started going to all mail, beforehand when they were polling place elections, it was about fifteen percent turnout, which is really low.  And afterwards it got a bump almost double to over 30%," said Missoula County Elections Supervisor Bradley Seaman.

A total of 14 candidates are vying for the seven council seats.  Mayor John Engen faces challenger Lisa Tripke, and Brendan McQuillan looks to unseat Municipal Judge Kathleen Jenks.

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