Early Voting Numbers Astounding

by jhwygirl

Well, I made my over to the courthouse this week to vote, and the numbers are crazy amazing – 27,000+ voters have requested absentee ballots. I was there at 5ish, and there was a steady line – old, young.

At 27,000 that is well over 1/3 of the 66,518 registered voters in Missoula County. The clerk who checked me in wasn’t able to tell me how may new voters had registered, but she did point out that it isn’t just young kids. “I’ve registered a large amount of senior citizens – people 60 plus years of age – who have never voted before. They didn’t want their names on some list – but they’re saying that this election is too important to not vote.”

So it isn’t just those crazy young University of Montana students taking advantage of late registration.

Plus – that’s nearly 7,000 voters in just 10 days. Amazing, huh?

Vickie Zeier and those county workers helping out with those extended hours – and the county commissioners that OK’d that extra expenditure – deserve a big THANKS from all voters, for making voting that much more convenient and accessible for people.

I wonder how other counties are doing? Does anyone know if any other counties extended hours? I’m pretty sure we got some Lewis & Clark and Silverbow and Flathead and Gallatin readers.

59 hours until polls close, people…Get Out That Vote!

  1. Helen

    It is not fair that Democrats who tend to dominate in urban areas are allowed to have almost 2 weeks of early voting. The suburbs and rural areas who tend to vote Republicans only have one day to vote, thus imagine if there was bad weather or the like on that one day.

  2. goof houlihan

    I voted early, and permanent absentee. I think a third of people who vote, now vote “permanent absentee”.

    Time for mail ballot elections at least for off year elections.

    Bad weather won’t affect turnout in a mail election.

  3. Jim Lang

    The idea that there is some sort of urban/rural divide in early voting is totally nonsense. In my precinct, game animals outnumber people by a wide margin, and I voted on the first day of early voting.

  4. Helen – I don’t get what you are saying. You can vote absentee by mailing in a request for a ballot. You can mail that ballot back.

    As goof mentions, you can request “permanent absentee” ballot, too. It might be a smart thing for someone like you to do, if you are prone to not wanting to get out there and vote if “bad weather or the like” occur.

    Frankly, its a hassle for me to get to the courthouse during regular hours – so the help I got was the extended hours they put in – which included Saturdays.

    Don’t rural Missoulians ever come to town? Man, out on Reserve, there are license plates from all kinds of places, like Granite and Powell and Mineral County. I have to think that there are a whole bunch of county people amongst that traffic out there.

  5. Jim Lang

    In a rural location like mine, there is no such thing as a ‘local’ polling place – the closest was the Petty Creek fire station – 8 miles away. Pretty often, though, it’s been all the way in Frenchtown – 20 miles away. Sure Missoula is a little bit farther, but with early voting, I have a whole month in which to vote.

  6. goof houlihan

    I’ve seen a thirty percentage point turnaround, from twelve to forty two percent of registered voters, from one off year election to the next, with the use of mail in balloting.

    I DO think bad weather affects turnout, especially among seniors and parents. I’ve seen an early heavy snowstorm affect turnout adversely…in town! Then throw in driving from Springhill around the Bridgers to the Bridger Canyon Fire station twenty or so miles down, then up snow covered rural roads, a forty mile round trip, and there’s a powerful argument for what Helen is saying.

    On a day when the Gallatin Courthouse was humming with lines and heavy absentee voting I saw nobody at the Madison Co courthouse. I think there’s something to her point.

  7. It looks to me like Helen is saying that there shouldn’t be early or absentee voting.

    I do agree – weather is definitely a factor. That’s why – and you are one to advocate this, right? – we should perhaps just do mail in ballots like Oregon.

  8. Mayor of Mayhem

    I would WALK twenty miles to vote in this election.

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