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Satellite Sites on MT Campuses Help Students Vote

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Monday, October 26, 2020   

MISSOULA, Mont. -- Satellite voting offices on Montana college campuses are helping to get students to the polls this week.

On Tuesday, there will be an event at the University of Montana Adams Center where students can register and vote. They'll be able to vote on campus at the satellite voting site until Friday.

Bradley Seaman, Missoula County elections administrator, said these events bring the elections office out into the community.

"When we go to a community, to the university or another area and provide these services out, we're trying to help make it so that voters can get services in their community, can be served quicker, easier and be able and have more access to elections in general," Seaman explained.

Tuesday marks the first day of late voter registration, meaning Montanans have to register in person.

Because of COVID-19, Seaman noted they won't have in-person voting, but his office will be issuing ballots and a drop box for ballots will be outside the Adams Center.

He encouraged people to vote early because the county is expecting long lines on Election Day due to social distancing requirements.

Another satellite voting office will be open on Montana State University's campus in Gallatin County starting Tuesday.

Haley Cox is political action director for Associated Students of Montana State University, MSU's student government association.

"Having the county put in the work to have a satellite office on campus is incredibly important for students," Cox stressed. "Because it lets them know that they're an important part of this community and an important voting bloc within this community."

Cox added there's been a lot of enthusiasm around voting but it can be hard to engage students because of the pandemic.

She underscored the important role the student population can play in this election.

"Every vote really does matter," Cox maintained. "The governor's election in 2012 was decided by less votes than there are on MSU's campus. So having students turn out to vote can make a really big impact on our whole state."

The 2012 gubernatorial election was decided by about 7,500 votes. Fall enrollment at MSU this year is more than twice that number.


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