MISSOULA – It was a busy Tuesday over at the Missoula County Fairgrounds with elections staff scrambling to deal with a high voter turnout.
Elections officials report that 69% of registered voters in Missoula County cast their ballots during the 2018 midterm election cycle compared to 74% voter turnout for the 2016 presidential election.
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There were 48,000 absentee ballots returned for Tuesday’s election as compared to 44,000 absentee ballots which were returned in the 2016 presidential election.
Election officials in Missoula say they processed over 1,300 same-day registration forms on Tuesday while still somehow keeping wait times down to 45 minutes to an hour.
One of three vote-counting machines the Missoula County Fairgrounds on election night for several hours but was back up and running by 10 a.m. on Wednesday.
Despite the massive turnout and technical difficulties, a dedicated and hardworking staff carried Missoula County through election night — but they still have a lot of work to perform.
“The next step in our process is to finish up our provisional ballots. We have over 1,700 provisional ballots in Missoula County, so we are working through that,” Missoula County Elections Administrator Dayna Causby said.
“While they are doing that, registered voter history has to be keyed into the computer — as well as the audit process. So we do audit the election after the election to assure that votes were cast the correct way,” she added.
“So we have lots of steps in the next two weeks. For us, the election is far from over,” Causby concluded.
The races will officially be decided after election officials have finished counting and checking all of the ballots.