HELENA — Even though polls don't close until 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 2, the Lewis and Clark Elections Office are already in full swing for this year's election.
Those who live in the Helena city limits are voting for the mayor, two city commissioners, and a council member for their neighborhood’s district. While registration has closed, if you already have a ballot, you still have time to bring it in person to the City-County Building before polls close at 8:00 p.m.
For those who would like to become more familiar with the ballot processing, public observation of the operation is available. On Monday, interested citizens asked questions and watched democracy at work. Robert Gregori, a retired federal employee, decided to come down to the City-County building and do just that.
“Well, mostly just because there was so much controversy over the last election. It’s good to know how the processes go and what appears to be the right way to do things and what might be more education and actually how it works. It's a lot more intense than someone realizes,” says Gregori.
Upon receiving a ballot, the team at the county elections office goes through multiple steps to make sure the ballots are accurately and responsibly accounted for. Ballot signatures are checked against registration records, tracking who’s voted, preserving the secrecy of the ballot and accurately counting them – the same process counties have been conducting successfully for years, on a growing number of absentee ballots.
Audrey McCue, Supervisor of Elections Division, explains more, “All of those processes are open to public observation. Behind me, we have staff working on a step where they separate the ballot in its secrecy envelope from the ballot with the voters’ name. And we have an observer here for this process right now. So, we can have observers for any parts of those processes, including the machines counting the votes.”
If you haven’t voted yet, or think your ballot may not make it to the Election's Office by the deadline, you have until 8 PM Tuesday night to come into the City-County Building.