Missoula County Board of Commissioners

Missoula County experienced yet another secure, accessible and transparent election on Nov. 8, thanks in no small part to our dedicated elections staff.

With same-day voter registration available for the general election, the Election Center in Missoula experienced a flurry of activity throughout Election Day, with residents braving the chilly weather to make sure their voices were heard.

Nearly two dozen election workers served a total of 1,159 voters at the Election Center on Election Day. Of those, 293 were new registrations, 293 were address updates for voters who moved within the county, and 138 were address updates for voters who moved from another county. The remaining voters received another service, such as being issued a replacement absentee ballot. Missoula County is proud to provide voter-centric services year-round, including on Election Day.

Around the county, 320 election judges staffed 27 polling places to ensure voters who chose to vote in person could cast their ballots at their polling place. Due to the impact of COVID in 2020, this was the first general election with the option to vote at polling places in Missoula County since 2019. Our helpful election staff were ready and able to assist voters who had not been to their polling place for several years.

Nearly 100 other elections workers staffed the counting center, verified ballots, answered phones, delivered supplies, staffed ballot drop locations and more. These workers brave the wind and cold and work long days. Many of them have served in these roles for years. You may recognize them when you drive through the ballot drop-off station, see them picking up and dropping off supplies or assisting a curb-side voter. Working elections is a point of pride for these folks, and we’re lucky to have them in our community.

But running a successful election takes more than just working long hours on Election Day. It takes months’ worth of recruiting and training election judges, prepping 60,000+ mail ballots, helping voters register for the first time or update their address, scheduling and staffing voter services events across the county, receipting mail ballots and verifying signatures, setting up polling places and drop-off locations, testing equipment and more. We appreciate the countless hours and tremendous effort of each election worker.

And the work to ensure the integrity of the election process doesn’t stop after Election Day. In the weeks following the election, staff spend hours verifying and counting provisional ballots, prepping for and conducting the post-election audit to ensure results were accurate, and preparing for and conducting the canvass to confirm that every accepted ballot was counted.

Voters may be interested to read the oath that elections workers swear before taking on their important duties: “I do solemnly swear or affirm that I will support, protect and defend the constitution of the United States and the constitution of the State of Montana and that I will discharge the duties of my office with fidelity.” With elections staff across the country facing intense scrutiny, we are proud our dedicated elections workers here in Missoula County continue to answer this call to public service and uphold the duties of their office. Thank you for supporting democracy!

Signed: Missoula County Commissioners Juanita Vero, Josh Slotnick and Dave Strohmaier