NewsLocal NewsRavalli County


Ravalli County voters express concerns over mail-in voting

Posted at 10:49 PM, Aug 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-18 00:51:04-04

HAMILTON — Ravalli County voters express concern, and frustration, over a suggestion to turn the General election into vote-by-mail only.

But others at the meeting on Monday pointed out two-thirds of the county's residents are already registered to vote that way.

It's a growing debate across the country: should all voting be done through the mail for safety during the pandemic?

Many states already routinely vote-by-mail, and have for years. But in the Bitterroot Valley, some aren't convinced it's necessary, or a way to avoid voter fraud.

During a special hearing, Elections Administrator Regina Plettenberg explained she's recommending using the mail, as was done in June and during most special elections, because of concerns about social distancing at the polls.

She's also worried about the vulnerability of older election judges.

"I get that everybody here would want to work," said Ravalli County Elections Administrator Regina Plettenberg. "But my problem is, that's what I rely on, are my experienced judges."

While there was some support for the idea of voting by mail, most told the county commissioners it was an attempt to "throw" the election, taking away voters' rights, or even jump on what appears to be a crash of the U-S Postal Service.

Many residents at the meeting spoke anonymously.

"Any of you that vote for, stopping the mail-in ballot will never see a vote from me again. Except a vote against you. We are residents of Montana. We are Americans. And we have the absolutely, 100-percent right, to vote in person!"

"Sooner or later, those of us who really stand with this, and really care about our liberty, and freedom, need to be among the 3-percent who say, this is the line and I', just not going to cross it anymore."

"I think the fact that two-thirds of us already vote by the mail, is a good sign."

Plettenberg did try to assure the voters that Ravalli County has never had a case of voter fraud, and her staff does it's best to catch mistakes.

Commissioners made no immediate decision, but could later this week.