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voting

Voters cast ballots at the Missoula County Fairgrounds, May 25, 2017.
Josh Burnham

Last night, the Republican candidate to fill Montana’s vacant U.S. House seat reportedly body-slammed a political reporter from international news outlet The Guardian.

Greg Gianforte was later charged with misdemeanor assault. But did the “body slam” affect how people are voting today? We sent reporters out to Bozeman, Missoula and the Flathead Valley to find out.

Election administrators around Montana report fairly high turnout for the special election so far. Cascade and Missoula Counties had received about 70 percent of absentee ballots by 3:00 p.m. Yellowstone County reports that about half of registered voters have already voted.

Several county administrators say voters have called wanting to change their votes after last night’s incident.

How to find your polling place, return your absentee ballot, or vote in person in Montana's special election:
Josh Burnham

How to find your polling place, return your absentee ballot, or vote in person in Montana's special election:

The election to fill Montana's U.S. House seat is Thursday, May 25. You have until 8:00 p.m. to cast your ballot.

Voters at the Missoula County ballot drop-off center, May 23, 2017.
Eric Whitney

Montana’s special election to fill its empty U.S. House seat is mere days away, but election officials say many voters still aren’t sure how to vote.

"The biggest hurdle for us has been trying to combat voter confusion," says Rebecca Connors, the election administrator for Missoula County.

The Cut Bank voting center.
Corin Cates-Carney

Colleen O’Brien didn’t know her usual polling place wouldn’t be open for Montana's May 25’s special election to fill Montana’s U.S. House seat until last week.

"It's making it incredibly inconvenient at best, and it is disenfranchising an underserved, underrepresented population at worst," O'Brien says.

Matthew Monforton
Montana Legislature

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday turned away challenges to open primaries in Hawaii and Montana.

Bozeman attorney Matthew Monforton, who served as a Republican Legislator in 2015, concedes this is the end of the line for Montanans who support closed primaries:

Online voter registration is no longer available for the May 25 special election, but voters can register in person at local county election offices.
Eric Whitney

With less than a month left until Montana’s special election to replace former Representative Ryan Zinke, some voters are casting their ballots early.

Montana Legislature Passes More Than A Dozen Bills Thursday

Apr 13, 2017
Montana Capitol, Helena.
William Marcus

The Montana Legislature is taking a break this weekend after passing more than a dozen bills today. The Legislature has only two scheduled weeks left in the 90-day session.

Bill Asks Voters To Limit Who Can Deliver Ballots

Apr 10, 2017

A House committee passed a bill today that would create a ballot initiative that would limit who could deliver a voter's ballot to a polling place, election office or the post office.

Senate Bill 352 would create the "Montana Ballot Interference Prevention Act." The bill provides exceptions for family members, caregivers and acquaintances who are authorized to pick up ballots.

How to find your polling place, return your absentee ballot, or vote in person in Montana's special election:
Josh Burnham

County election officials need to know this week if a last-ditch effort to run next month’s special congressional election by mail will pass the state Legislature.

Next week, counties across the state will start finalizing their list of voters who will cast absentee ballots in that election.

Can the governor's amendatory veto bring back the mail ballot option for the special election? We parse Quist's new TV ads and his decision not to participate in a public broadcasting statewide debate. We also discuss what Gianforte gains or loses by keeping a low profile. Then we look at how Tester's Gorsuch vote might affect his re-election chances next year. Finally, we remember the well-respected former Helena legislator Mignon Waterman who died this week.

Montana's May 25 special election will be held with both mail ballots and polling places available.
Josh Burnham

What’s known as the mail-in ballot bill, to give counties the option of running the upcoming special election without physical polling places, is now dead after a vote today in the state House of Representatives.

Supporters of Senate Bill 305 tried to blast the legislation onto the House floor after it failed to move out of committee earlier this week.

Montana Capitol, Helena.
William Marcus

A mail-in ballot bill that could impact how Montanan's select their next congressman, is likely dead after a party line vote Wednesday morning.

Democrats forced a vote on the bill in a House committee hearing, a move that blindsided some Republicans, who criticize the minority party’s tactics.

State revenue estimates have grown, but lawmakers are taking a cautious approach. Will the Legislature pass an infrastructure bill this session? A mail-voting hearing turns heated. And Sally and Chuck remember Bob Ream, on this episode of 'Capitol Talk.'

Voters in Clinton, MT cast ballots during the 2016 elections.
Rebekah Welch

A bill designed to save county governments half a million dollars or more is facing a time crunch in the state legislature. It would allow them to conduct mail-in only balloting. If it’s going to have any impact on how voters select the state’s next U.S. congressman, it must pass out of what one lawmaker is calling a kill committee.

Missoula Mayor John Engen, Interim UM President Sheila Stearns, Missoula County Commissioner Jean Curtiss, and Missoulian Editor Kathy Best at a City Club meeting in Missoula March 13, 2017
Edward O'Brien

Missoula Mayor John Engen says District Judge Karen Townsend has again ruled in favor of the city in its effort to acquire the local municipal water company.

Engen says Townsend ruled the entities that fought the city’s use of eminent domain to acquire Mountain Water Company were overcharging for legal services and fees:

How to find your polling place, return your absentee ballot, or vote in person in Montana's special election:
Josh Burnham

In less than three months, counties across the state will hold a special election to select a replacement for Montana’s now vacant U.S. House Seat.

After Ryan Zinke was confirmed as Interior secretary in the Trump administration Wednesday, Governor Steve Bullock called a special election on May 25 — 85 days away. County election officials expect that election to cost about $2 million, split among Montana’s 56 counties. And most counties haven't planned or budgeted for that.

Montana Republican Party
Montana Republican Party

The state legislative session is now more than third of the way finished. At a Republican Party gathering in Kalispell Friday, about 30 party members said they're generally happy with how it's going, as Republicans hold majorities in both the state House and Senate.

The Glacier Country Pachyderm Club spoke with five Flathead Valley Republican legislators on Skype for almost an hour Friday to hear updates on their bills.

How to find your polling place, return your absentee ballot, or vote in person in Montana's special election:
Josh Burnham

Accusations of voter suppression are already flying ahead of Montana's anticipated special election. That would be held after Congressman Ryan Zinke vacates his seat, pending Senate confirmation of his appointment to become secretary of the interior.

Sen. Daines shuts down Sen. Warren and votes to confirm Betsy DeVos. Will the special congressional election be a mail-only affair? A death penalty repeal bill narrowly fails at the Montana Legislature. Join MTPR's Sally Mauk and UM Political Science Professor Rob Saldin for analysis of these stories on "Capitol Talk," your weekly legislative analysis program.

Voters in Clinton, MT cast ballots during the 2016 elections.
Rebekah Welch

A Republican representative from Kalispell says voters should be required to show a photo ID in order to cast a ballot. Representative Derek Skees introduced his proposal to change Montana’s law during a House Committee meeting today, while opponents argued the bill would make it harder for some people to vote.

Around Montana: Voters In Clinton, Drummond Remain Skeptical On Election Day

Nov 8, 2016
Voters in Clinton, MT cast ballots during the 2016 elections.
Rebekah Welch

In two small towns just east of Missoula, voters remain conflicted even after they have cast their ballots.

While volunteers at the polls in Clinton and Drummond said they have seen healthy turnout, they used words like “confusing,” “unsure” and “rough” to describe the election cycle.

Absentee Voting Runs High As Election Day Begins

Nov 8, 2016
The entrance to a polling place at the Missoula County fairgrounds, Nov. 7, 2016.
Andrew French

Montanans – those who haven’t already voted – are heading to the polls today to decide hard-fought races ranging from president to local ballot measures. 

As of this morning, Montana Secretary of State Linda McCulloch's official website reported that nearly 298,000 Montanans had cast absentee ballots. That's about 85 percent of all the absentee ballots sent out statewide.

For all of the procrastinators who have an absentee ballot is still sitting on your kitchen counter, elections officials are urging you to drop it in the mail.

The general election is coming up fast, November 8, 2016.

Yellowstone County Elections Administrator Bret Rutherford says the reduction in the number of U.S. Postal Service sorting centers means it can take longer for mail to be delivered, especially for rural Montanans.

Montana Group Working To Register Native Voters

Aug 30, 2016
How to find your polling place, return your absentee ballot, or vote in person in Montana's special election:
Josh Burnham

Among the organizations working to get out the vote this fall in Montana is Western Native Voice,  a nonpartisan group based out of Billings.

Jewell Deschamps-Gopher works for them. Part of her job is motivating people to register to vote.

How to find your polling place, return your absentee ballot, or vote in person in Montana's special election:
Josh Burnham

Corin Cates-Carney visited the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds to get voters’ thoughts on some of the issues surrounding this election.

Rep. Skees said his bill, HB-357, is an attempt to protect the state’s elections system from voter fraud.
IIP Photo Archive

New satellite election offices near and on American Indian Reservations in Montana saw low turnout before the primary, but state and tribal officials are still calling the effort to expand voting equality a success.

Satellite Voting Office Opening In Browning

Mar 28, 2016
Rep. Skees said his bill, HB-357, is an attempt to protect the state’s elections system from voter fraud.
IIP Photo Archive

A satellite voting office is opening on the Blackfeet Reservation for the first time. The new office in Browning would help reservation residents gain equal access to same-day voter registration.

Mail-In Voting Expected To Minimize Lines In Montana

Mar 23, 2016

Montana election officials say it’s unlikely the state’s June primary election will see the kinds of long lines Arizona voters experienced Tuesday in that state’s presidential primary.

Will Marlow (CC-BY-NC-2)

The Blackfeet Tribe is challenging Pondera County Commissioners and Montana’s Secretary of State Office about tribal member’s voting access.

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