A voter deposits his ballot
CASEY PAGE, Gazette Staff

The final day of Montana’s U.S. House special election is Thursday and based on turnout over the past week, it’s expected to be a low volume affair in Yellowstone County.

“We were at 47,485 ballots today and I think we’ll probably break 50,000, maybe 51,000,” said Bret Rutherford, Yellowstone County elections official.

Montana voters are deciding a nationally watched congressional election amid uncertainty in Washington over President Donald Trump's agenda and his handling of the country's affairs.

The flow of big money in the race portended an epic battle at the ballot box — as Republican groups poured cash into the state to help Greg Gianforte retain the state's only U.S House seat for his party and as Democrat Rob Quist rallied progressives attempting to push back against last fall's GOP tide.

The wild card is Libertarian Mark Wicks, who could upend the political ambitions of his competitors.

Election Day voters need to be mindful of a few things that could affect their votes, Rutherford said. It’s too late to mail an absentee ballot. Ballots need to be hand delivered either to Yellowstone County Courthouse or to a polling place.

Anyone who received an absentee ballot should try to vote that ballot and not turn up at a polling place looking for a new one. Absentee ballot voters can request a replacement ballot on Election Day, but the vote won’t be part of the original count, that’s because election workers can’t count the replacement until they have to determine the original ballot hasn’t been voted.

It’s possible to become a registered voter on Election Day, but this year new registrations are only done at the Yellowstone County Courthouse.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voting for most Billings precincts are at MetraPark with rural residents voting at precincts in their communities. Voters can find out whether they’re registered and where their polling place is by checking the My Voter Page at the Yellowstone County Elections webpage or the Montana Secretary of State website.

Because of scheduling conflicts, particularly at schools, some polling places around the state have been relocated. In Yellowstone County voters who normally cast ballots at Pioneer School northeast of Billings, will be voting at MetraPark. Roughly 50,000 Montana voters won’t be able to vote where they do normally.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Agriculture and Politics Reporter

Politics and agriculture reporter for The Billings Gazette.