For some western Montana counties, one stamp is not enough when it comes to mailing back absentee ballots this election season. It’ll work in Ravalli, Lake and Granite counties, for instance, because their mail-in ballots come in smaller envelopes and don’t weigh enough to require more than a 45-cent stamp. But in others …
“It still seems to be an issue,” Missoula County election supervisor Vickie Zeier said Thursday. It has become exacerbated this election year as the number of mail ballots in her county approached 40,000 this week, some 10,000 more than ever before.
When ballots come back with insufficient postage, Missoula County has an agreement with the post office that it’ll cover the shortfall to assure delivery. It’s getting pricey. On Monday, the midpoint of the mail-in season, more than 300 ballots arrived with just one stamp affixed, Zeier said. Cost to the county? $75.40.
That’s on the high end, but Zeier said Thursday the county has racked up a $675 bill with the post office. Zeier said the required 65-cent postage is noted on the yellow information sheet that accompanies each ballot. “We’ve been criticized that it’s not on the outside of the envelope,” she said. “Those envelopes are prepared in a high volume, and then we just use them.”