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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Record Voter Registration Driving Possible Record Turnout In Montana

Voting at the Butte Civic Center early this morning
Nora Saks
Voting at the Butte Civic Center early this morning

Updated 4:50 p.m.

Voter registration is at an all time high in Montana, the latest tally from the Montana Secretary of State’s office shows nearly 709,000 Montanans are signed up to vote.

When polls opened at 7 a.m., nearly half of those voters had already cast their absentee ballots, putting state voter turnout on a path to surpass that of the last midterm election. In a surge yesterday, more than 20,000 people turned in their absentee ballots.

Voters are deciding today  the political balance of power in Montana’s congressional delegation, the state legislature, and the commission that regulates public utilities.

They’ll also give an up or down to ballot initiatives that could change the face of the state’s mining industry, funding for higher education, and the future of health care for people on low incomes.

Polling places opened at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

Voters can still register on election Day, but that must be done at county election offices. Absentee ballots not yet turned in should be delivered in person to polling site or county election office, in order for them to count.

Voting appears to have gone smoothly across Montana so far, although five precincts in Missoula County report occasional troubles with feeding the second page of their paper ballot into counting machines.

Elections administrators say the software company isn't sure why there are difficulties feeding about one in every 10 ballots, but those ballots will have to be counted by hand tonight.

The Missoulian reports the problems are at the Lewis and Clark, St. Joseph's, Hellgate and Russell polling locations. Voters are asked to allow a little extra time to vote.

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.

Corin Cates-Carney manages MTPR’s daily and long-term news projects. After spending more than five years living and reporting across Western and Central Montana, he became news director in early 2020.
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