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The Gallatin County Commission will meet Tuesday to decide whether to hold the November election by mail.

If Gallatin County chooses to hold a mail-ballot election, ballots would be sent out Oct. 9, and return postage would be provided, as it was for the primary.

Voters would also still be able to vote in-person at the county election department.

The Gallatin County Commissioners will meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the courthouse to discuss a mail-ballot election.

Public comment will be accepted in person and via Zoom. Call-in information for Zoom is on the commissioners’ website. The public can also submit comments by email at commission@gallatin.mt.gov or can mail or drop them off at the commission office.

The commissioners’ meeting follows Gov. Steve Bullock’s announcement last week that counties can decide whether to have a polling place or mail-ballot election on Nov. 3.

Since Bullock’s declaration, several counties — including Park, Missoula and Lewis and Clark — have decided to hold mail-ballot elections. Others, such as Broadwater County, have chosen to hold polling place elections.

Bullock decided to allow counties to have a mail-ballot November election in response to a July letter from county election officials and the Montana Association of Counties. The officials expressed concerns about large crowds gathering at polling places, the difficulty of hiring election workers and the pandemic making some polling locations, like schools, unavailable.

Bullock previously allowed counties to hold a mail-ballot primary election in June. All 56 counties chose to use mail ballots for the primary.

At the time, election officials said the first statewide primary election went smoothly.

They also recorded record turnout, with about 382,000 people voting, which was far more than the last primary record set in 2016 with about 294,000 ballots cast. The turnout rate was 54.9%, not quite reaching the record 0f 70.7%, which was set in the 1972 primary.

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Perrin Stein can be reached at pstein@dailychronicle.com or at 582-2648.