My 2020 election ballot was signed, sealed and delivered over a week ago, as confirmed online via the website, myvoterpagemt.com, the online site in Montana that allows you to confirm that your ballot has been received by the election office in your county. You can also use the site to verify that you are registered. To access the site, all you need are your first name, last name and date of birth.

The Sun Times checked in with the Teton County Clerk and Recorder/Election Administrator, Paula Jaconetty, to see how her office was coping with a contentious election that is also happening in the midst of a global pandemic.

For the 2020 election, as of Friday, Paula told the Sun Times that Teton County voter registrations are up by 54 compared to 2016. “2016 showed Teton County had 4,062 registered voters and we as of today, are at 4,116,” Jaconetty said.

Even though Teton County residents can still vote in person at the county courthouse in Choteau, Jaconetty said that absentee voters comprise 75 per cent of all active voters, adding “I don’t think we were at 50 per cent in 2016.  Of course, this year we are a total mail ballot, but the 75 per cent is active voters that have the “absentee” designation for all upcoming elections.”

Asked if her office is seeing an increase in voter concerns over this election, Jaconetty said the office has seen more people drop off their ballots in person, but she said she was unable to verify if that was due to concerns over mail delivery. “As of October 23rd,  we have 57 per cent of ballots that have been returned.  So far, we have issued 3,956 and 2,265 have been accepted,” said Jaconetty.

According to Jaconetty, this election cycle has seen an increase in calls to her office with voter’s questions, “We are seeing an increase in phone calls with various questions as there were third party mailers that caused a lot of confusion; candidates telling voters to check on their ballots; and just an overall increase in the election process.”

In order to ensure a smooth election, the Teton County Courthouse will be open this Saturday, October 31st, from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 pm. “It will be open strictly for elections only; new registrations, replacement ballot and polling booths will be available. We will not be doing any clerk and recorder duties,” said Jaconetty.

Asked if there was any additional information, she would like for voters to be aware of, Jaconetty said, “Please get you ballot to the election office. Do not wait until the last minute of the last day as unexpected situations may arise that do not allow you to get your ballot to us by 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, November 3rd.  

There will be an election judge manned ballot drop box at the Fairfield Community Hall from 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. on election day. All Teton County ballots will be accepted at the ballot drop box.  It is not a polling site. You cannot register to vote or vote in person at the site.  To register to vote and receive a ballot you must come to the Clerk and Recorder/Election office located in the courthouse at 1 Main Avenue South, Choteau.”