Montana Public Radio

Bradley Seaman

Voters in Flathead County voters wait to cast their ballots in person or to get a replacement ballot, November 02, 2020.
Aaron Bolton / Montana Public Radio

Voters could face long lines on Election Day in some Montana counties.

At the Flathead County elections office Monday, Election Manager Monica Eisenzimer said voters had been waiting in a line stretching around the building’s second floor and across a skyway all day.

A voter drops off a mail-in ballot with poll worker Vance Bennett at the Missoula Elections Center, October 21, 2020.
Megan Myscofski / Montana Public Radio

The coronavirus pandemic means poll workers’ jobs look a little different this year, as 45 of Montana’s 56 counties switch to all-mail elections, and polling sites adapt to social distancing.

Officials in Montana’s second-most populated county support holding an all-mail ballot general election in November.

Missoula County Elections Administrator Bradley Seaman says voting by mail is the logical choice amid a worsening coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ve worked closely with the Board of County Commissioners and think having an all-mail election would be a beneficial way to help ensure great voter turnout, help provide the best services we can while keeping everybody safe," Seaman said.


Few days remain before Montana’s Jun. 2 primary election, so voters who haven’t mailed their ballots should instead drop them off in person at county election offices and other drop off locations. Some election officials are already processing mail in primary envelopes.

Montana counties have sent ballots for the Jun. 2 primary to every single active voter across the state. Elections administrators have embraced the so called all mail election because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kevin Trevellyan with Yellowstone Public Radio news asked various county officials how they’re handling the abrupt shift. He shares his reporting with Nicky Ouellet.