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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

2018 Elections: Voter Voices From Butte

Carter Anderson was helping transport voters to and from the Butte Civic Center in the golf cart, Nov. 6, 2018.
Nora Saks
Carter Anderson was helping transport voters to and from the Butte Civic Center in the golf cart, Nov. 6, 2018.

We've had reporters talking to voters across much of Western Montana today including these who Nora Saks spoke to in Butte this morning.

Nora Saks: Heading towards the civic center in Butte, it's snowy, there are so many people here. The roads are really greasy but there's lots of people just flowing in. One of the major voting locations in Butte. I'm going to try to catch up with some people.

What's your name?

Judy Maloughney: Judy Maloughney.

Nora Saks: Where are you from?

Judy Maloughney: Butte Montana.

Nora Saks: So what brought you out to the polls this morning?

Judy Maloughney: To make sure that I get the candidates that I think will be best for Montana, and do my part.

Nora Saks: Do you often vote in the midterms?

Judy Maloughney: Yes, always.

Nora Saks: Is there any particular race or issue that brought you out especially today?

Judy Maloughney: Both 85 and 86. One is really good for Montana and the other one's not so good for Montana. I am all for 85 and against 86, 186. I think that mining in Montana is very important and I think the veterans, the health care for Montanans is extremely important also for seniors, and all of us actually. Yeah.

Nora Saks: Is it pretty crowded, or what's the scene like inside?

Judy Maloughney: It's a really good turnout out there and everybody seems to be really busy. Yeah. Lots of visiting.

Nora Saks: Like catching up with neighbors?

Judy Maloughney: Yeah. Some that I haven't seen in a long time so it's always fun to come out to. Yeah.

Nora Saks: Wonderful thanks for talking to me.

Judy Maloughney: Oh thank you! Be careful out there.

Steve Stark: Steve Stark.

Nora Saks: Steve, where are we right now?

Steve Stark: At the Butte Civic Center.

Nora Saks: And why are we here? Why are you here?

Steve Stark: Well, I've never voted as long as I've been a Montana resident. I've never even registered to vote. But I really feel like I wouldn't be doing my duty this time. I think it's just really, probably the most important election in my lifetime. There's so many things on the table that are really important to Montanans, are really important to the future of America.

I don't like Gianforte. I don't know where he came from. I don't think he belongs in Washington representing us. I really feel the same way about Matt Rosendale. I don't feel like he's a Montana Representative and shouldn't even be on the ballot. So, unfortunately I'm voting against them to start out. I mean, I'm not going to register as a Democrat. I don't really believe in the two party system, but I think that I-185 and I-186 should be passed. I think they'll benefit. I mean, Medicaid needs to be expanded. There's a lot of old people, a lot of veterans that need help. I mean, I need help with health care. So that's really where I'm at. I got the day off because of the weather, so I'm here to do my duty.

Nora Saks: You're about to register to vote, is that right?

Steve Stark: I'm gonna register and vote today.

Nora Saks: And how are you feeling about that?

Steve Stark: I think it's awesome. I mean, I tried to come down here at 7 a.m., but I had to give old boy a ride, so he's just now taking me to breakfast. So now I'll be standing in lines. But that's OK, we'll get to meet and greet a lot of the local residents. I'm pretty excited about it.

Andrew Wilson: Andrew Wilson, I'm 23 years old.

Nora Saks: What brings you out to vote today?

Andrew Wilson: Well, mostly just to exercise my rights as an American citizen. And I think it's important to be involved with what's going on especially right now in politics. And going forward I think that Montana has quite a bit of influence with the senatorial seat as well as our House seat, so I think it's important to come out and vote. Also the ballot initiatives, too I-185 and I-186 as well are very important to me. For the Senate I think I'll do Democratic, and then Republican for the House.

Nora Saks: So that's a split, tell me why?

Andrew Wilson: I'm an independent by heart, so I think it's important to represent both of my values.

Nora Saks: Why do you like Congressman Gianforte over Kathleen Williams?

Andrew Wilson: I like the idea that he's already got some establishment in Congress. I think that's another reason why I'm going for Jon Tester as the Democratic person in the Senate, because of the fact that they have some establishment, have some background there, and I think they'll be able to get more of a job done.

Nora Saks: And what about the ballot issues, what's important to you?

Andrew Wilson: I like 185 because of the fact that it's focused on Montana health care and that I think that's an important one ,so I'll probably be voting yes on that. And then on I-186 I'll probably vote no. I believe that Montana has a very resource rich state and it's important to develop those resources.

Nora Saks: You sound really informed.

Andrew Wilson: Yeah, yeah absolutely. I'm very involved right now in politics and I think it's important again just to exercise your rights and come out to vote.

Nora Saks: Do you work in politics, or ...

Andrew Wilson: Oh no, no no no. I'm actually just a college student at Montana Tech, so.

Nora Saks: With the friends and college students that you talk to at Tech. What's your sense of how this is gonna go here?

Andrew Wilson: There's definitely a fair conservative party there, so I think that a lot of it will be voted for mostly probably the Republican parties.

Nora Saks: Do you think they're going to turn out and vote?

Andrew Wilson: Yes, yes absolutely. Some of my friends have turned in their ballots and then some of them are going to be voting today.

Voter voices from Butte gathered by MTPR's Nora Saks.

Find live results for Montana's races herestarting once the polls close at 8 p.m. And tune in on your radio or online for NPR's special election coverage from Montana and around the country, starting at 6 p.m.

Nora Saks is a reporter and producer based in Butte, MT.
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