Montana Public Radio

2020 elections

Voters line up inside the Butte Civic Center to cast their vote in the last few hours before the polls close. Nov. 03, 2020.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

Even with the option to vote by mail this year, voters in Butte-Silver Bow county, and across the state are showing up in droves to drop off their ballots at polling locations.

MTPR's Nora Saks spoke with Rich Henningsen, a long time volunteer with the Butte Silver Bow county Clerk and Recorder’s office, about what election day has been like so far at the Civic Center.

Voters wait in line to cast their ballots outside the Missoula County Election Center on Election Day. Nov 3, 2020
Peyton Butler / Montana Public Radio

Voters in Missoula today dropped off their remaining ballots and stood in long lines to register and vote. MTPR’s Megan Myscofski talked to a few of them at the Missoula County Elections Office and the University of Montana’s ballot drop-off site.

People vote in person at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds in Bozeman on election day, Nov. 03, 2020.
Rachel Cramer / Yellowstone Public Radio

In Gallatin County, where 82 percent of absentee ballots had been returned by mid-morning, around 75 people stood in line at the fairgrounds a few hours after the polls opened. Volunteers in green vests asked people from different households to stay six feet apart, which was marked by orange cones.

Yellowstone Public Radio's Rachel Cramer spoke with several people after they cast their ballots. 

Voters line up in the morning to register to vote and cast their ballots outside the MetraPark pavilion in Billings on Election Day. November 03, 2020.
Jess Sheldahl / Yellowstone Public Radio

In Yellowstone County 83 percent of absentee ballots had been returned as of this morning. Voters in Billings reported waiting two to three hours to register to vote and cast their ballots this morning at MetraPark, the main polling station for the most populated city in the state.

As Yellowstone Public Radio's Jess Sheldahl reports, a few hours after the polls opened at 7 a.m. the weather was perfect for waiting.

Indigenous Get Out The Vote Groups Make Final Push

Nov 2, 2020

With one day left before Election Day, Native American rights advocates are making a final push to get out the vote as COVID-19 cases rise and the temperature drops.

At a recent voter registration drive-through event on the Crow Reservation, workers wearing masks and gloves help drivers fill out registration forms. Western Native Voice, a nonprofit working for Native American empowerment, held many events like this across Montana throughout the summer and fall.

Elections officials in Montana’s Lewis and Clark County have begun counting absentee ballots ahead of Election Day.

Elections staff in Helena will hear absentee ballots winding through two tabulator machines as long as their office is open on Nov. 2.

Voters in Flathead County voters wait to cast their ballots in person or to get a replacement ballot, November 02, 2020.
Aaron Bolton / Montana Public Radio

Voters could face long lines on Election Day in some Montana counties.

At the Flathead County elections office Monday, Election Manager Monica Eisenzimer said voters had been waiting in a line stretching around the building’s second floor and across a skyway all day.

Tabulator operator Jeff Sillick prepares a stack of ballots for counting in the Lewis and Clark County elections office on Nov. 2, 2020.
Kevin Trevellyan / Yellowstone Public Radio

More Montanans have cast ballots in the 2020 general election than any election before.

Montana broke the record Monday, with two full days of voting left, meaning that count will climb before polls close on Tuesday at 8 p.m.

Campaign Beat: Record Turnout, Tightening Races And Dirty Tricks

Oct 30, 2020

Voter turnout in Montana could break an all-time record. A new poll shows the governor's race tightening. New ads in that race look to make closing arguments. Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie is the victim of a Cooney campaign dirty trick. Senator Daines brings Cruz, Rubio and Don Jr. into the state for some last minute campaigning. And we may not know who won the top races until the day after election night.

Listen now on Campaign Beat with Sally Mauk, Rob Saldin and Holly Michels.

Election sign reading 'polling place' on a door at a Missoula polling place.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

The National Association of Attorneys general, including Montana’s Attorney General Tim Fox, issued a statement earlier this week urging people to make a plan for voting. The statement was also a reminder that voter fraud, suppression and intimidation are illegal.