Montana SOS: About 57% of absentee ballots are in, snow may impact in-person vote

By: - November 7, 2022 5:41 pm

A voting sign in California (Photo by Tom Arthur/Wikimedia Commons CC-BY-SA 2.0)

About 57 percent of absentee ballots had been received as of Sunday evening by the Secretary of State’s Office, according to a spokesperson.

Monday, Communications Director Richie Melby said at the same time during the 2018 midterm elections, 71 percent of absentee ballots had been received.

“It’s not necessarily an apples-to-apples comparison due to the contests on the ballot, number of absentee ballots sent,” Melby wrote.

Ballots for the midterm election in Montana were sent out to voters in mid-October. Montanans can register to vote up until 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Communities throughout Montana were seeing snow and icy roads on Monday, and wintry weather is expected to continue into Election Day, according to the National Weather Service both in Great Falls and Billings.

Political analyst Jeremy Johnson at Carroll College in Helena said the Arctic blast forecast in some places may affect in-person voters in the final stretch, but the majority of ballots in the state have likely been cast already, so inclement weather will have less of an impact.

“Most Montanans who are planning to vote will go vote, but on the margins, I think it will matter,” Johnson said. He is an associate professor of politics.

The roads in Missoula were so icy on Monday that the Police Department put the city under “Emergency Travel Only” until conditions improved late in the afternoon.

Montanans are choosing two U.S. House of Representatives candidates, including one in the state’s new western district, and are voting on two ballot measures and two state Supreme Court races. Ballots also include legislative races and local measures.

Johnson said turnout can be lower in midterm elections because there are no presidential candidates on the ballot, but that doesn’t mean midterm elections are not important.

“It could be a very consequential election,” Johnson said, referencing the impact of midterm elections on policy and politics around the country.

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Nicole Girten
Nicole Girten

Nicole Girten is a reporter for the Daily Montanan. She previously worked at the Great Falls Tribune as a government watchdog reporter. She holds a degree from Florida State University and a Master of Science from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.