Missoula Survey: County Voters Confident in Vote by Mail

MISSOULA – Researchers from the University of Montana’s Department of Public Administration and Policy recently asked nearly 698 Missoula County residents, “Are you confident Missoula County is free of voter fraud?”

Eighty-nine percent of respondents either strongly agreed or agreed with this statement. In addition, 79% are confident in Missoula County’s vote-by-mail process.

This survey, funded by the Missoula County Elections Office, examined 698 registered voters’ perceptions of their voting experiences and election practices during the November 2020 election.

“We think it is important to listen to voter thoughts on the elections in Missoula County,” said Bradley Seaman, Missoula County election administrator. “The data from this survey will help us to better serve voters in the future. We are excited about our partnership with the UM Department of Public Administration and Policy and continuing to work to improve the election process.”

The overall findings indicate that county residents are highly satisfied with their most recent voting experience, are confident in the administration of elections in the county and hold the Missoula County Election Office in high regard.

Eighty-four percent of respondents indicated that they are satisfied with the vote-by-mail process. Ninety percent of Missoula County voters believe the Elections Office delivered the November 2020 election at a level on-par with, or better than, 2018.

Eighty percent of respondents either strongly agreed or agreed with the statement, “I am confident that [the November 2020] election results are accurate.”

UM faculty members Sara Rinfret and Christina Barsky led this University research project with their graduate student Shane St. Onge. They noted the strong performance of the Missoula County Elections Office during the November 2020 general election.

“This 2020 election study on Missoula County provides important baseline data for Montana elections during a pandemic, which is first-of-its kind for the state,” Rinfret said.

A presentation of the study’s full results will be presented from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 12, for the public and Missoula County Elections Advisory Committee. The results meeting will be held online. Email electioninfo@missoulacounty.us for more information.


Contact: Dr. Sara Rinfret, professor and chair, UM Department of Public Administration and Policy, sara.rinfret@umontana.edu; Bradley Seaman, Missoula County election administrator, 406-529-8980, bseaman@missoulacounty.us.