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Montana politics, elections and legislative news.

Weather, Long Lines Slow Ballot Counts in Gallatin County

Graphic: Montana Public Radio News, Politics
Montana Politics and Elections News

Gallatin County election officials say long lines and delays in ballot delivery are putting a wrench in plans to count ballots this evening. At around 9:45 Tuesday night, Gallatin County Clerk and Recorder Charlotte Mills talked with Montana Public Radio’s Nick Mott about some of the challenges they’re facing.

Nick Mott: How are things going over there right now?

Charlotte Mills: Well we saw the line of people that will probably still be voting for another hour.

NM: Was that something you expected to deal with tonight?

CM: No.

NM: So what's going on? What's led to this line of people?

CM: I don't know, they're just — It's been out the door and up the block the entire day. It started at 7 o'clock and it's been that way the whole day. A lot of a lot more of late registrations than we ever expected.

NM: When do you think all these votes will be will be counted by?

CM: Probably tomorrow night at 6:00. You think I'm joking and I'm not.

NM: I'm fully with you, I'm fully with you. How does make you feel to be experiencing this in your position?

CM: It's really tough when you have, when everybody in the office been already — has been here for 13, 14 hours and we have to put in another 30. It's pretty tough.

NM: I've also heard that the ballots from West Yellowstone have to be driven to Bozeman. Is that right?

CM: That's correct. And there's a wreck in the canyon, so they will be late.

NM: About how late will they be, do you think?

CM: I have no idea. We were told that it's going to be a minimum wait for an hour for them to get it cleared out and the road open.

NM: So overall, how many people do you think are still out there right now?

CM: There's probably at least 60 or 70 people in line.

NM: And how long do you expect for your staff to continue dealing with these folks tonight?

CM: Like I said, it will be at least another hour, maybe longer. We've got a lot of work to do.

NM: That's Gallatin County Clerk and Recorder Charlotte Mills. I'm Nick Mott, Montana Public Radio.

Find live results for Montana's races here starting 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.

Nick Mott is a reporter and podcast producer who focuses on wildlife, natural resources, and the environment. He was editor on the podcasts Shared State and Fireline, and producer on the podcasts Threshold and Richest Hill.
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