As the Presidential election continues in the grip of controversy, officials in Missoula County are pleased with how the election process itself was carried out.

Assistant County Elections Administrator Nathan Coyan said Missoula itself had no problems with the general election.

“The general consensus here is that the way Missoula County administered our elections was excellent, bar none,” said Coyan. “I think that a lot of the problems that you've been hearing from around the country, whether they be rumors, speculation, or even if there is any validity, we fortunately haven't had any of those issues here in Missoula County.”

Coyan said the controversy over mail-in ballots did not have much effect in Missoula County.

“During this election, there were more absentee ballots or what people would refer to as mail ballots during this election,” he said. “The trend over the years that we've seen is that there have been more and more absentee voters and so, switching to an all absentee or all mail election for us was not necessarily a huge change because most of our voters are absentee anyway.”

Coyan said the County Elections Administrator Bradley Seaman’s emphasis was on accuracy rather than speed.

“One of the main focuses our election administrator Bradley had this time around is that accuracy is always going to be more important than timeliness,” he said. “I mean the demand for the results is there, but slowing down and making sure that everything is accurate was more important.”

While other states and municipalities experienced controversy over the subject of election observers, Coyan said Missoula County had no such problem.

“Another thing that we implemented this time around that we've always had, in varying degrees, but we've added more layers this time,” he said. “I mean, the public is always, of course, welcome to observe and this time they were observers from both parties present in some capacity every day of the process this time around. But what we did implement was far more instances of video recording surveillance of the whole system, making sure that there was accountability in place.”

Missoula County commissioners are currently accepting applications for two terms on the Election Advisory Committee. All current members are eligible for reappointment and will be given priority should they submit a letter of interest and meet the qualifications to continue serving. Applications are available here. The deadline for applications or letters of interest is 3 p.m. Jan. 28, 2021.

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