Glacier County Clerk and Recorder and Election Administrator Mandi Bird Kennerly cleared up the misinformation and poor communication regarding ballot drop-off locations in Glacier County at the Glacier County Commissioner’s meeting on Oct. 29. Kennerly addressed the Commissioners and stated emphatically, “I want to make the drop-off locations available as quickly as possible,” adding, her “timeline” to accomplish that safely and securely “may not be on your schedule.”
Kennerly and Deputy Election Administrator Crystal Cole explained to the Commissioners and Glacier County Attorney Terryl Matt the challenges in establishing the drop-off locations. They assured them the drop-off ballot locations would be set up, and manned with the required two people, perhaps as early as later that day.
“Our goal has always been to provide a safe and secure voting process. Our priority is to protect both the public and voting citizens,” said Kennerly after the meeting. “Ballot drop boxes will be provided in a safe and secure manner.”
Kennerly extended her appreciation to the Blackfeet Tribe and the Blackeet COVID-19 Incident Command for their cooperation in providing space for the drop box at the Stick Game Arbor in Browning.
On Friday, Oct. 30, Cole provided the following ballot drop off locations and hours:
•Browning Stick Game Arbor, located at 44 Museum Loop in Browning, will be manned allowing voters to drop off their General Election ballots from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 30 and Monday, Nov. 2. The drop off location will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3.
•East Glacier Women’s Library, located at 416 U.S. Highway 2 in East Glacier, will be manned allowing voters to drop off their General Election ballots from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 30 and Monday, Nov. 2. The drop off location will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3.
As of close of business Friday night, Cole reported the following election statistics:
• A total of 7,478 ballots have been issued with 4,457 accepted, which is approximately 60 percent.
• Undeliverable ballots numbered 278 and ballots not returned stands at 2,331.
• Voided ballots are at 267 with 206 having been reissued.
As for a drop off location in the Babb/St. Mary area, Cole said, “I was told by Commissioner (Michael) DesRosier not to worry about Babb/St. Mary area since Western Native Voice is already set up in the community. However, after talking to State officials, since Western Native Voice is not an official place of deposit, the ballots they collect have to be turned into an official office by 8 p.m. on Election Night.”
Cole stressed, “Ballots cannot not be accepted after 8 p.m. if they are coming from an unofficial place of deposit.”
In keeping with the General Election calendar supplied by the Montana Secretary of State’s Office, Cole reminds voters, “We will not be registering anyone from 12 noon to 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 2.” This applies to county election offices statewide, she pointed out.
Kennerly and Cole remind voters to make sure and return their ballots by 8 p.m. and if they haven’t mailed them already, to ensure their ballots are received by Election Day, they should drop off their ballot at either of the two locations listed above or:
•Glacier County Courthouse, 512 Main Street, Cut Bank, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 2 and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3.
•Glacier County Satellite Office, 12 Starr School Road, Browning, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 2 and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3.
In addition to the Cut Bank Pioneer Press and Glacier Reporterwebsites, Glacier County Election officials were publishing information about the drop box locations in the Great Falls Tribune, KSEN radio, KRTV television station, StarLink Cable and Thunder Radio, and the Pikuni Press, a digital publication and related Facebook pages.