Hill County Clerk and Recorder lists election details
Last updated 9/23/2020 at 10:36am
Staff and wire report
The The Hill County Clerk and Recorder’s Office has provided a fact sheet, following, with details on the upcoming mail-in ballot election in Hill County.
The Nov. 3 General Election will be vote by mail with an in-person option
• The “Vote in person” element means that while all Active voters will be receiving a ballot in the mail, voters may deliver the ballot and vote that ballot at the Clerk and Recorder’s office if they want to vote in person.’
• They may come in Beginning October 2nd and pick up their ballot to vote.
• No regular polling places will be available.
• Voters may register by mail for an extended period, until Oct. 26.
• After that, new — late — registration must be done in person, from Oct 27 through Nov. 2 at noon and then again Election Day, Nov. 3, at the Clerk and Recorder’s Office. New voters are urged to register as soon as possible.
• People can call 400-2321 to find out how.
• For in-person registering or voting, people are advised that social distancing and sanitizing measures will be in effect.
• Ballots will be mailed Oct. 9 to active and provisional registered voters. Ballots will not be mailed to inactive voters.
• People are advised to vote and return your ballot by mail as soon as they can.
• After voters receive their ballots, they may request a new ballot for the following reasons:
— the voter made a mistake or damaged the ballot
— the ballot didn’t get to the voter in a timely fashion or was damaged in the mailing process
— the ballot was never received at the election office
• Note: The Clerk and Recorder’s Office cannot void a ballot once it is received in the election office.
• People should call the office at 400-2321 if they need to void their original ballot.
• Voters may drop off their ballots at the Clerk and Recorder’s Office every weekday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and, on Election Day, Nov. 3, fom 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.
• “The U.S. Postal Service is our partner in mail elections and in all elections,” the fact sheet said. “The USPS recommends mailing ballots at least one week before the election to insure delivery by Election Day.
“We continue to have faith in their service,” it added.
• Local post offices will keep mailed ballots in the county in the days immediately prior to Election Day. People are urged to mail their ballots early to ensure arrival before then.
• The USPS will not deliver election mail to the voter if a change of address form has been filed ---
• Ballots are not forwardable — ballots will not be forwarded to your part-time/vacation home!)
• Non-forwardable and undeliverable mail comes back to the Clerk and Recorder.
• We investigate these returns by attempting to contact the voter.
• Mailed ballots will contain pre-paid postage — no return postage will be necessary.
Concerns about fraud
The fact sheet said:
“• We check every single signature on every single ballot affirmation envelope that is returned to our office. Every single one. All Montana counties do.
“• If the signature does not match the voter’s record, the ballot is rejected and the voter is contacted.
“• Of the hundreds of calls and mailings we have made and sent due to a mismatched signature, we have never been told that any of these envelopes was signed fraudulently.
“• If you are concerned if your ballot has been accepted you can check on the status of your ballot by calling us, or by visiting http://MyVoterPage.mt.gov .
“• Be assured that if we see something that seems suspicious and could be an attempt at voter fraud, we will notify the appropriate authorities.
“• We use a state-wide data base — MT Votes — to handle our voter registration, elections and to keep track of every single ballot issued and returned.
The fact sheet continues:
• Ballots are issued by printing one unique label for each active voter. That label contains:
— the voter’s name, voter’s mailing address, the voter’s county registration number, the precinct and ballot number.
— a bar code and a nine-digit number that is unique to that voter and to that ballot and no one else in the entire State of Montana.
• One voter, one label, one ballot.
• With the ballots and their tabulation, it would be next to impossible to send out fraudulently printed ballots and them enter them into the system and count them. Too many safeguards are in place:
• Each active voter will receive a mail ballot packet in a special envelope bearing the special Election Mail logo. That envelope will contain the following items:
• Complete instructions; a secrecy envelope; the ballot; a return/affirmation envelope:
— The return envelope will display your special and unique label as described above
— It also contains an oath stating that the returned ballot belongs to the voter whose name appears on that label.
— It should be noted that our ballots all over the state are printed — not copied — on special ballot stock
• The ballots will be counted in the Clerk and Recorder’s Office just as they are in all elections.
• All voting and election processes are completely open to the public.
• When in doubt about Montana’s laws and processes, people should call their election office!
Maintaining and updating county voter rolls
• Again, only active registered voters will receive mailed ballots.
• Inactive voters are those who missed voting in a federal general election or a mail ballot election and then did not respond to mailings sent to them by our office.
• These voters will not be issued a ballot until they update their registration information.
• ALL states are mandated to follow voter roll maintenance as mandated by state and federal law.
• Voters should also be responsible for updating their voter registration information.
“• If you have recently had a change, call your election office as soon as possible,” the fact sheet said.
• This should include reporting out-of-state deaths. Local counties do not always learn of these deaths unless family members notify them.
• Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services sends all counties quarterly lists of deceased records that election officials use to cancel deceased voters out of the system.