All the offices at the Ravalli County Administration Center were closed Monday for Columbus Day - except one - the Election Office (photo below). Clerk and Recorder Regina Plettenberg told KLYQ Tuesday that the ground floor office saw 500 people bring their mail-in ballots to personally drop it in the drop box. She said Ravalli County was one of three Montana counties that opened their offices on Monday and all three saw a surge in traffic. In Hamilton, the drive-through route next to the election office entrance was busy all day.

Plettenberg was pleased with the number of people because the local U.S. Post Office worked hard to get as many ballots out to the voters as soon as possible. The mass mailing was Friday, October 9. Ballots were being delivered Saturday, October 10. which impressed the Clerk and Recorder, who said, "I'd like to give kudos to our local post office. They really went above and beyond." County residents can expect ballots to be delivered all this week. The return postage is already pre-paid.

Plettenberg said the staff at the office helped with questions from the public and in some cases issued replacement ballots to people who had damaged the form or had filled it out wrong. All the security measures were in place to make sure the people were voting the proper ballot and were only voting once. The office will be open through the month to help those who either have a problem with the ballot or choose to not mail it, but instead hand-deliver it (photo above).

If you haven't received a mail-in ballot by Thursday, October 15, contact the Election Office at 375-6550 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. It's important to contact them early, so you can update your registration or solve other problems before Election Day, November 3. All ballots must be received by the election office by 8 p.m. on November 3rd, As in previous elections, Plettenberg urges the public to mail in their ballots before October 28. And, a reminder, regular polling places will NOT BE OPEN in Ravalli County on Election Day, but there will be four drop-off locations.

Election Primary Place of Deposit at Ravalli County Administration Center. (Steve Fullerton, Townsquare Media)

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