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Voters were besieged by a dizzying number of campaign phone calls Monday, some sending confusing signals, but all with one clear message: Get out to the polls and cast your vote.

The uncertainty centered on absentee ballots - just what you're supposed to do and how you're supposed to vote if you've still got one at home.

For the confused, unsure, disorganized, disconnected or too-embarrassed-to-ask, here are some answers to basic Election Day questions:

Q: What are the poll hours?

A: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Q: How can I find out where I'm supposed to vote?

A: Call the elections office at 258-4751, or use the online poll-finder at www.co.missoula.mt.us (click on "Election Information," then, on the blue rail on the left, the link for "Where do I vote?" Insert your address.)

Q: Where can I find a sample ballot?

A: On the county's Web site: www.co.missoula.mt.us; click on "Election Information," then "November 2006 Election Information," then "November 2006 Ballot Sample."

On the Missoulian Web Site: Missoulian.com.

Q: I don't know if I'm registered or not. How do I find out?

A: Call the elections office at 258-4751.

Q: I'm not registered. Can I register and vote today?

A: Yes to both, but both must be done in person at the elections office on the second floor of the Missoula County Courthouse, 200 W. Broadway, between 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Q: I got an absentee ballot but never turned it in. Am I too late?

A: No, you're not too late - and you are not alone. More than 5,000 absentee ballots had not been returned as of Monday morning. Absentee ballots must be physically dropped off at the Missoula County Elections Office, or at any polling place, between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Election Day. Tuesday is too late to mail absentee ballots.

Q: I've lost my absentee ballot. Can I get another?

A: Montana law allows you to cast a "provisional" ballot at your polling place if you have lost, destroyed or never received your ballot. If you cast a provisional ballot, expect to be delayed; handling provisional ballots take more time.

Q: What do I need to vote?

A: You must show proper identification to vote. Forms of ID that qualify: driver's license, school district or post-secondary photo ID, Costco card, tribal photo ID card, voter-confirmation card, current utility bill, bank statement, or a paycheck or government document that shows your name and current address.

Q: I haven't been reading much about the election. Where can I get some background information?

A: On the county's Web site: www.co.missoula.mt.us; click on "Election Information," then "November 2006 Election Information." It has links to the Missoulian, the Missoula County Marijuana Initiative, a current sample ballot, the Missoula County Republican and Democratic Web sites, and both city and county local government study commission recommendations and report.

On the Missoulian Web Site: Missoulian.com (click on "2006 Elections" in upper right corner).

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