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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Around Montana: Voters In Clinton, Drummond Remain Skeptical On Election Day

Voters in Clinton, Montana, cast ballots during the 2016 elections.
Rebekah Welch
UM School of Journalism
Voters make their decisions for the 2016 elections in Clinton Tuesday, November 8.

In two small towns just east of Missoula, voters remain conflicted even after they have cast their ballots.

While volunteers at the polls in Clinton and Drummond said they have seen healthy turnout, they used words like “confusing,” “unsure” and “rough” to describe the election cycle.

In Clinton, a 20-minute drive from Missoula, voters gathered at Clinton School to vote in the gymnasium while elementary students ate lunch.

Christy Greene said the presidential race was tough to decide. “Every day, I’ve been back and forth,” she said. “I don’t want either one.”

The presidential race dominated other voters’ minds on their way out of the polls.

Nathaniel Charles, 20, a correctional officer at The Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge, said he abstained from voting in the gubernatorial race due to his distrust of both candidates but he confidently voted for Donald Trump in the presidential race.

“Trump is a wild card, and I’m a gambling man,” Charles said.

Ron Adams, another Clinton resident, said he was concerned mostly with jobs this year.

“Give everyone a chance to have a good job so they can live comfortably in our state,” Adams said.

The uneasiness of the election carried over to Drummond, a town of roughly 300 people.

Kari Reasoner, a 28-year-old ranch worker, said she had reservations about both Trump and Clinton, but after praying decided that she was “ready to make America great again.”

Reasoner, a hunter, also had reservations about some of the ballot initiatives, including the I-177, which would ban animal trapping on Montana’s public lands.

“That was a gateway issue to opening up the downfall (of) our Second Amendment,” Reasoner said.

All of the voters managed to take time out of their day to cast their ballots. Many were on their way to or from work, or volunteering at the polls.

Patricia Buck, 62, a ballot counter in Drummond, said the stakes felt higher than usual this year.

“It’s been kind of hard to keep that line of, ‘You’re my good friend, and you want the opposite,’ ” Buck said. “We’re all a little scared of how things could go.”

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