Primary absentee election update

06_7110JUMP FOR JOY  — Cowgirl seniors Sam Fagan, Jenny Silvernale and Beth Grubb leap in celebration after the 100th graduation ceremonies at the high school on Sunday afternoon. I-O Photo by Buck Traxler





If you have an absentee ballot for the June 8 primary election still sitting on your counter, you need to be getting it back to the Courthouse.  They must be returned by 8 p.m., June 8 in order to be counted.

If you would still like to vote by absentee, the time to request one is definitely running out!

Your best option is to stop at the Clerk and Recorder’s office in the courthouse and pick up your ballot.  The last opportunity to request an absentee ballot is June 7 before noon.  After that deadline, the only absentee ballots that can be issued are those ballots for a voter prevented from voting at the polls as a result of illness or health emergency occurring between 5 p.m. Friday preceding the election and noon on Election Day.

Clerk and Recorder, Janice Hoppes, states that as of last Friday, 585 absentee ballots will have been issued for this election.

She noted,, “Even though the primary election in Montana has a historically lower turnout than the general election, we are close to the number of absentees issued in the 2008 primary election which was a high turnout election in Montana.”

Generally, the busiest days for issuing absentee ballots has been in the final week before the election, but with the large number of voters on the permanent or annual absentee voter list, the largest activity may have been at the very beginning of the voting cycle.

Currently, there are 3,722 registered voters in Pondera County and approximately 15 percent have been issued absentee ballots.  By comparison, in the 2008 presidential election year, a total of 603 absentee ballots were issued in the primary election which represented 16 percent of the total voters at that time.

In the 2008 primary election, Pondera County had a total turnout of 55 percent.  It will be interesting to see the total turnout this year.

Late voter registration news

In 2005, the Montana legislature passed a law allowing qualifying voters to register to vote after the close of regular registration up to and including election day.

In addition, the voter who registers under the provisions of this law is allowed to vote in the election if the voter’s identification information can be verified through the Montana drivers’ license or the Social Security Administration database.

The voter may vote in the election only if the elector obtains the ballot from and returns it to the office of the county election administrator.   Late registration does not apply to school elections.

Late registration is closed from noon to 5 p.m. on the day before the election then resumes at 7 a.m. and continuing until 8 p.m. election day.

Voters wanting to take advantage of the late registration must be a U.S. citizen, a resident of the county for at least 30 days prior to the election and at least 18 years of age as of the date of the election.

If you have questions or need more information, contact the Clerk and Recorder’s office on the main floor of the courthouse or call 271-4000.