Missoula Primary Election Turnout Looks Dismal, Unlikely to Hit 50 Percent
The big primary election day for Montana this year is June 5th, but with a week to go, turnout in Missoula looks sparse. According to Missoula County Elections administrator Dayna Causby, Missoula County usually has around a 60 percent turnout, but that is not the way this election is trending.
"So far, out of the 68,000 registered voters, we have sent out 48,000 ballots," Causby said. Of those ballots, we have only received back 13,000... that's only about a 28 percent turnout. If we get a 50 percent turnout for this election I will be surprised.
Causby believes the number of ballots in envelopes may be throwing Missoula voters into a bit of confusion.
"I think the fact that there are three ballots in the envelope is part of the issue," Causby said. "It's confusing for some people to have the three ballots, but it's not any different. Voters need to know that they should vote only one of those three ballots when they get done voting that one, then they put it in the blue envelope, then put it in the affirmation envelope, sign the affirmation envelope where the signature line is and put the two unvoted ballots into the white envelope and mail it back to us."
Ballots can also be dropped off at the elections office on the Missoula County Fairgrounds or at polling places on election day. There are two voting precinct changes this year too. Last week, the Clinton Precinct moved to the Clinton Community Center due to a conflict with Clinton Schools. The Hellgate precinct is moving to the Missoula Technology and Development center due to construction at Hellgate Elementary. Causby says she is worried about long lines in the Hellgate precinct this year, because the new venue is smaller.