In a reversal, county officials now plan on a mail-in ballot election

by WILL LANGHORNE
The Western News | September 4, 2020 5:05 PM

Lincoln County officials now plan to hold a mail-in ballot election in November.

Newly appointed Election Administrator Chris Nelson announced the change on Sept. 4. Nelson said he submitted his plan for a mail-in ballot election to the Office of the Montana Secretary of State that day. State officials signed off on the plan by 3 p.m.

While officials will send voters ballots via mail, the county must keep a few in-person polling places open.

Nelson plans to have at least three in-person voting stations open: one in Troy, Libby and Eureka. Additional drop box locations likely will be available for voters to deposit their ballots.

Nelson said he switched plans after county commissioners expressed their preference for a mail-ballot election.

All three commissioners were not immediately available for comment.

News of the mail-in ballot election came just a week after commissioners said they would hold a traditional election where residents can only vote either at the polls or via absentee ballots.

That decision itself marked a shift in plans. Leigh Riggleman, former election administrator, proposed a mail ballot election on Aug. 12.

The bulk of the ballots will be mailed out to active voters on Oct. 9.