Your vote counts

Absentee ballots requested for the Nov. 5 election were mailed Monday and early voting is now open at the Gem County Courthouse.

Requests to have ballots sent to you are available at or at the County Clerk office at the Courthouse, 415 E. Main. Absentee ballots cannot be mailed out later than Oct. 24. Completed absentee ballots will be accepted in the Clerk’s office until 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 5.

Voting in Room 202 at the Courthouse is available Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Nov. 4 and from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Nov. 5. Precinct voting at 13 sites in Gem County will be from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 5 only.

Voters in Gem County may see up to three separate ballots when they step into the voters booth or complete their mail-in option, depending on the area of the county in which they reside.

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Voters in upper Gem County – Sweet and Ola – will most likely only have decisions to make regarding the five open positions on the Emmett Independent School District board of trustees. Ten candidates are vying for those positions. A candidate forum for the school board race will be presented at the Emmett Middle School auditorium at 6:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 21. Candidate responses to an issue questionnaire from the Messenger Index will appear in print in the Oct. 30 edition of the paper and online at

Voters in lower Gem County that are also in the Gem County Fire District # 1 will be presented with the school board slate and a special bond election. The bond question is whether or not to authorize the Board of Commissioners of the Gem County Fire Protection District #1 to issue general obligation bonds not to exceed $5.1 million to construct a new central fire station.

Voters residing in the Emmett City limits will have the school board vote and an Emmett city government ballot that will decide positions of Mayor and three City Council seats. A public forum will be held for the civic election at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 15 at the Emmett Middle School auditorium. Responses from the two mayoral candidates and eight council candidates to an issue questionnaire from the Messenger Index will appear in print in the Oct. 23 edition of the paper and online at

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