Ravalli County Clerk and Recorder Regina Plettenberg thinks the upcoming midterm election is going to be “awesome” in regards to the numbers of people who perform their civic duty.
“To be honest, I’ve never seen the interest that I’ve seen so far in this election,” Plettenberg said. “There are so many groups working to get out the vote. With the ballot issues we have here in Ravalli County and the candidates, I think it’s going to be an awesome election.”
Plettenberg’s office was busy early this week with calls from local residents concerned about a mailer containing an absentee ballot application.
“We were slammed by calls from people who had already signed up to vote absentee,” Plettenberg said. “The mailer was confusing to them.”
The mailer sent by a super political action committee partnership between the United Steelworkers and the League of Conservation Voters included the application and a letter that said while people were registered to vote in Montana, they hadn’t yet applied for absentee ballots.
Plettenberg said her office assured those who already were signed up to receive an absentee ballot that nothing more was required of them.
Plettenberg said several people also came into the office requesting to vote on the first day of early voting in what appeared to be a “get out the vote” promotion. For those who had already signed up to receive an absentee ballot, Plettenberg said they were asked to use that.
“Any of those voters who said they were going to be out of town, we did go ahead and void their absentee ballots,” she said.
Absentee ballots will be mailed today, Friday, Oct. 12.
Plettenberg recommends that voters who receive an absentee ballot should use that ballot to vote even if they decide to go the polls on Election Day.
“They shouldn’t throw those ballots away,” Plettenberg said. “If they do, they will have to go through the provisional process.
"The absentee ballots can be dropped off at the polls.”
Ravalli County will send out 14,500 absentee ballots. There are 25,000 active voters in the county.
For those who still need to register to vote, they’ve missed the deadline to mail or email their application.
“They are going to need to come into the office in person,” she said.
Residents can register to vote right up to the day of the election, but Plettenberg recommends that they come in earlier if they don’t like waiting in line.
“The closer we get to the election, the more chance there will be a line,” she said. “The process takes five or 10 minutes. Right now, people usually don’t have to wait.”