MISSOULA — The Missoula County Elections Office tested out their five ballot tabulators ahead of Missoula's upcoming municipal primary election.
Elections Administrator Bradley Seaman said it's required to test the machines before Election Day, but he really wants people to feel secure in the steps Missoula County takes to ensure election integrity.
"To make sure that it's reading every ballot correctly and reporting all of those results correctly for people on Election Day. The more you know about how our processes work, the more confident you feel in your vote on Election Day." - Missoula County Elections Administrator Bradley Seaman
Officials made sure the machines were operating, prepared 180 ballots to test, and compared the results. Seaman said there's no such thing as a small election, as every election requires preparation.
"We work so hard to make sure that every voter's ballot is cast, and counted correctly, and make sure that their vote is counted as they intended."
Officials also demonstrated how they set up the ADA-compliant booths during the public tour on Thursday.
Additional public tours will take place on Monday, Sept. 13, and Tuesday, Sept. 14. People can reach out to the office to request their own.
"Our process is 100% transparent. Anybody is welcome to see any step of our process throughout the way."
Seaman recommends voters who haven't returned their ballots do so in person, or at one of the designated drop-off locations since the primary is less than a week away.
Missoula elections officials say as of Wednesday, about 26% of ballots for the Missoula Municipal primary election have been returned.
The all-mail in primary will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 14, and polling places will not be open on Election Day.
Return postage for ballots is prepaid, and voters also can drop off their ballots at the Missoula County Elections Center at 140 North Russell Street in Missoula.
Residents who still need to register to vote or make changes to their registration can do so until 12 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 13 at the Elections Center. Due to changes in state law, residents can no longer register to vote on Election Day.
The Missoula County Elections Office also will provide ballot drop-off sites in each ward on Election Day.
Six ballot drop-off locations will be available from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day only:
- Ward 1 –Missoula Public Library, 435 E. Main. St.
- Ward 2 –Hellgate Elementary School Administration Office, 2385 Flynn Lane
- Ward 3 –The Elections Center, 140 N. Russell St.
- Ward 4 –Missoula County Fairgrounds, 1101 South Avenue W.
- Ward 5 –Missoula Early Learning Center, 2625 Briggs St.
- Ward 6 –Franklin Elementary School, 1910 S. 11th St. W.
Voters who are unsure of what ward they reside in can click here for additional information.
Voters with questions may contact the Missoula County Elections Office by calling (406) 258-4751 or via email. Common voter questions can be viewed online. Voters can also learn how Missoula County ensures election integrity here.
The primary is for Missoula mayor and City Council wards 1 and 6. A candidate filings list can be found here.
The two candidates in each race who receive the most votes will move on to the general municipal election on Tuesday, Nov. 2.