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voting

State, County Officials Differ On Montana's Voting Needs

Nov 16, 2018
Voters in Clinton, Montana, cast ballots during the 2016 elections.
Rebekah Welch / UM School of Journalism

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The midterm elections saw a record number of absentee ballots overwhelm voting machines in some Montana counties, found election officials in a dozen smaller counties still hand-counting votes and underscored the need to replace hundreds of aging and broken voting machines for the disabled.

Tester picks up votes in Trump country, and Montanans continue a long tradition of ticket-splitting. Governor Bullock has his hands full with another Republican-led Legislature, and this election stands out in many ways from previous Montana mid-terms. Sally Mauk, Chuck Johnson and Rob Saldin break it all down in this season's final installment of "Campaign Beat."

Montana Vote Totals, Absentee Returns Set State Records

Nov 9, 2018
Sample Montana ballot.
Montana SOS

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — More voters cast ballots in this week's election than any other midterm in Montana history, and only two presidential elections have had higher voter numbers.

The secretary of state's unofficial results from Tuesday's election puts total turnout at 497,393 voters. That's the state's third-highest total behind the 516,901 people who voted in 2016 and the 497,599 in 2008. 

In Jon Tester’s narrow re-election to the U.S. Senate, he won the support of seven Montana counties that had voted for President Donald Trump in 2016.

Several of the counties that backed Tester this year were not just casual Trump supporters in 2016. The president won a couple by more than the 20 point margin he received statewide, including Lake County.

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.

Voters in Belgrade, MT, Nov. 6 2018.
Nora Saks

MTPR reporters spent today talking to voters across western Montana. Nora Saks stopped by the Belgrade Events Center this afternoon where high school had just let out. Voting booths were set up in front of a trophy case and voters who had just cast their ballots shared what issues were on their mind.

Karen Davidson (middle), 70, in Basin said she is not concerned about voter fraud in Montana because there are a “thousand little old ladies” across the state to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Shaylee Ragar, UM Journalism

It takes thousands of people to make sure Montana’s elections run smoothly. Shaylee Ragar was at the polls in Basin earlier today, where she spoke with Karen Davidson, a self-proclaimed 70-year-old “little old lady” who’s been volunteering as an election official for the past eight years or so.

Flathead County went big for Republicans two years ago, voting red for every statewide and federal office. But Flathead Democrats are pushing for a blue wave from local races to Montana’s lone U.S. House seat. This afternoon we sent Nicky Ouellet to hear what voters in the Flathead are thinking on election day.

Sample Montana ballot.
Montana SOS

Hoping to get meaningful Montana election results by the time you go to bed tonight? If so, prepare to be disappointed.

Missoula County Elections Administrator Dayna Causby wants to set realistic expectations for voters seeking election returns tonight.

File photo.
(PD)

Get out the vote groups worked down to the last hour to help eligible voters cast a ballot in today’s midterm election.

On Saturday at a community feed in Polson attended by nearly 200 people, Montana Native Vote organized rides to the polls, collected absentee ballots to deliver to the election office and stumped for their endorsed Democratic candidates and ballot initiatives.

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