MISSOULA — Missoula County election workers fired up the ballot counting machines on Thursday ahead of Election Day making sure they're in perfect working condition.
They ran more than 1,000 test ballots through to make sure they're counting ballots correctly. The machines will undergo more testing before Election Day and a final audit after.
As of Thursday morning, 50 percent of the ballots mailed to Missoula County voters were already returned. Elections Supervisor Bradley Seamen expects voter turnout to surpass 80 percent by the time the election is over.
But he does stress to get your election business done ahead of Nov. 3 because of voter interest and COVID-19 capacity restrictions inside the center. He says those wait lines that Tuesday night will be epic.
"It could be upwards of four hours," Seaman said. "So with the weather we're currently having we want to make sure voters are well prepared, that they come dressed in layers for Montana November elections. That they have some food for them in case they're in line for an extended period of time. We will serve any voter who chooses to come to the election center on Election Day, If you're in line by 8 p.m., you will get service no matter how long that takes."
The Election Headquarters on Russell is open for the next two Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will also have extended hours as Election Day gets closer. And on election night, you'll be able to watch a live stream of the ballot counting process in action. That's available on the Missoula County election's website.