Broken machines, slick roads slow down ballot counting in big co - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Broken machines, slick roads slow down ballot counting in big counties

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BOZEMAN -

Ballots were still being counted throughout the day in some of Montana’s most-populated counties, including Gallatin, Missoula and Cascade.

In Gallatin Co., the line of voters stretched out the door and down the block for most of the day with the last votes cast around 11 p.m.

Another delay in getting Gallatin results was a series of slick road car crashes on Hwy 191, slowing down the car packed with ballots from West Yellowstone heading for the county courthouse in Bozeman.

Gallatin Co. Clerk and Recorder Charlotte Mills says the West Yellowstone ballots finally made it in around 1 a.m.

Mills says huge voter turnout, a two-page ballot for Gallatin voters and the delayed West Yellowstone ballots had them working through the night, trying to get results.

“We have been working so long that people are exhausted. We are working with a really small crew trying to give people a couple hours of sleep so that they can come back and pick it up again,” Mills said.

Mills says in her 12 years overseeing elections, voter turnout was much higher than normal for a midterm nearing the turnout expected in a presidential election.

About 60% of registered voters cast ballots in Gallatin Co. this election cycle, which is lower than the statewide turnout of 67%.

Across the state, Missoula Co. saw similar voter turnout with 57% and long-lines of same day voters.

Missoula Co. election officials say results were slowed down by a broken voting machine that was down from 3 a.m. to 10 a.m.

A technician from Great Falls came over and repaired the machine.

The voter turnout in this election was the highest it’s been in a midterm election in more than 20 years.

It’s not too far from the numbers of a presidential turnout, which was between 72-74% in the last two presidential elections.

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