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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 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.

Nick Mott is a reporter and podcast producer based in Livingston, Montana.
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