“What is better for democracy than to put a ballot in the hands of every registered voter?” was the prominent headline on an April 7 press release by Governor Steve Bullock. He issued an amendatory veto to House Bill 83, and added language that would allow counties to conduct the special Congressional election by automatic absentee mailing. “We can and should help people participate in our democracy by streamlining government and saving taxpayer’s money,” said Gov. Bullock during a press conference. “I take seriously my responsibility to strengthen our democracy by helping make sure that more eligible citizens can participate in that democracy-not fewer. And what is better for democracy than to put a ballot in the hands of every registered voter?”
If the amendatory veto is upheld by the Legislature, every voter will be mailed an absentee ballot for the May 25 election. A mail ballot election is projected to save counties $750,000 and alleviate the difficulties of finding physical locations for precincts, a challenge created by the fact that this election is taking place at an unusual time, the article stated.
Earlier in the session, Senate Bill 305 passed in the Senate which would allow counties to decide if they wanted to hold an all-vote-by mail election. However, the House Judiciary Committee indefinitely tabled it. Then, Rep. Geraldine Custer R-Forsyth, tried to “blast” the bill. This motion was an attempt to revive the bill, however, this was defeated in the House.
As the election date rapidly approaches, counties are scrambling to figure out how to handle the voting process. Mineral County Election Administrator, Staci McGrew, is currently contacting election judges and that all three of Superior’s precincts will be at one polling place to help save costs. If the amendment passes, McGrew said the polling place will be in the Elections office at the courthouse. If the mail ballot is defeated, there will be one polling place in Alberton, St. Regis, Superior and DeBorgia.