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Voters who prefer to cast ballots by mail need to renew with the annual absentee list, said Yellowstone County Election Administrator Bret Rutherford.

The election office recently mailed tan-colored renewal postcards to 50,000 absentee voters to confirm their address and signature, he said. The cards should to be returned as soon as possible to receive absentee ballots for elections this year, Rutherford said.

The renewal is required for people wanting to vote absentee in the federal primary on June 5 and the presidential general election on Nov. 6, he said.

State law requires the mailing by Jan. 31, but the county got a jump on it, he said. About 75 percent of the 66,800 registered voters in Yellowstone County vote with absentee ballots. With 2012 being a presidential election year, Rutherford said he expects the number of registered voters to increase.

The renewal card instructs voters to update their address and to sign the form. The voter's signature is important to confirm the voter's identity and to reduce election fraud, Rutherford said.

Voters also can renew or register online at www.co.yellowstone.mt.gov/elections.

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