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Late to register, not too late to vote

Published On: Nov 05 2012 02:49:23 PM MST   Updated On: Nov 05 2012 05:08:45 PM MST

Line outside election offices, Missoula Fairgrounds


There is a line out the door at the Missoula County Elections office on Monday, Nov. 5. It’s the last chance for residents to vote absentee.

Jeffery Hubbard just moved to Missoula from Washington, D.C. and came down to the fairgrounds election office to cast his first vote as a Montanan.

“I’m voting in Missoula because it is my new residence and I just want to be a part of the process here since I won’t be returning to D.C.,” Hubbard says.

Election officials have a heavy task ahead as they count a record number of absentee ballots. Roughly 50 percent of registered Missoula and Gallatin County voters will cast an absentee ballot. That percentage is only slightly lower for Flathead County, where absentee voters make up 40 percent of their votes.

Election Coordinator Rebecca Connors is a busy woman at the late registration office in the Missoula Fairgrounds.

“Today we will prepare what absentee ballots we have on hand to be counted, so it provides us a head start on Tuesday,” Connors says.

Absentee voting ended at noon Monday, but voters may still vote at the fairgrounds election office as late registration on Tuesday.

“We reopen tomorrow from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.,” Connors says. “The election center will only be doing late registration at that time, so if you’re new to Montana, you’re not registered, or you have moved within from a different county or within your precinct, you need to come to the election center here at the fairgrounds to receive a ballot.”

Hubbard made his move to register just in time.

“I just moved to the state, and I assumed there had been a registration deadline that passed. I just found out this weekend that you can still register, so here I am,” he said.

If you are late to register, you can do so between the hours of 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. Tuesday. If you live in Missoula or Flathead Counties, you can register at your county fairgrounds. Gallatin County residents should go to Room 210 in the County Courthouse.