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It’s become such a cliché to say every election is the most important one ever that saying so has lost its gravitas. But one thing we can say with certainty about the upcoming general election is that this one will be the weirdest one in recent memory.

Amid a global pandemic and a flurry of controversy over mail balloting and changes in Postal Service policy, the thought of voting might be discouraging. But, make no mistake, you don’t want to miss out on this one. And it’s important to start thinking about that now.

A complaint often heard following elections with low voter turnout is: “I didn’t know how to vote.” If you found yourself in that boat, start here: https://app.mt.gov/voterinfo/, the official Montana Secretary of State voting page. If you’re not registered to vote, it will walk you through the process. The form to register is available there and the places where you can register late are listed there. If you’re not sure if you’re registered, you can find out in seconds, literally, by merely typing in your information. And you can see a sample ballot and lists of all the candidates and ballot issues.

A lot of voter information specific to localities are available on county websites. In Gallatin County that site is found at https://gallatincomt.virtualtownhall.net/election-department. If you live in Gallatin County and are an active registered voter, you will automatically receive a ballot in the mail. If you’re county doesn’t plan to mail ballots to all registered voters you can sign up to get mail ballots on the voting page. And what’s more, once you’ve filled out your ballot and mailed it in, you can track it through the system. You can make sure it is received and counted through this page.

In this important election, you don’t want to wait until the last minute to vote. Mail ballots go out Oct. 9, when you receive yours fill it out early and get it in the mail or turn it in yourself at the county courthouse. In the alternative, you can vote in person at the courthouse.

Voting is easy and an invaluable privilege when living in a representative democracy. Start thinking today about how you will exercise your right to vote this year.

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Editorial Board

  • Mark Dobie, publisher
  • Nick Ehli, managing editor
  • Bill Wilke, opinion page editor
  • Richard Broome, community member
  • Renee Gavin, community member
  • Will Swearingen, community member
  • Angie Wasia, community member

To send feedback on editorials, write to citydesk@dailychronicle.com.