County elections office prepares new polling stations, ballot box ahead of primary

The Elections Center at the fairgrounds is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, June 2. It will also close at noon on Monday, June 4, and reopen for Election Day.

Voters casting a ballot in next week’s primary election can use the drive-thru service at the Missoula County Fairgrounds starting Thursday, or vote in person prior to next Tuesday evening.

Either way, election officials said, ballots must be received no later than 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 5.

“We want to give Missoula County voters plenty of options to get their primary ballots turned in on time,” said Dayna Causby, the county’s elections administrator. “Voters are always welcome to mail their ballots.”

As of Friday, the county had issued 48,000 ballots for the June primary, which will decide a number of high-profile races.

Four Democrats are on the congressional ticket, with the winner advancing to challenge Rep. Greg Gianforte this November for the state’s only seat in the House of Representatives.

Four Republicans are also on the ballot, with the winner of that race advancing to challenge Sen. Jon Tester.

The winner of the Missoula County commissioners race could also be determined next Tuesday, as well as the Missoula County sheriff.

A number of state House and Senate seats are also on next week’s ballot.

Of the 48,000 ballots issued, Causby said, just 13,000 have been returned and accepted.

“That’s 27 percent,” she said. “We’re hoping for 50 percent or higher.”

The county also has relocated two polling places, moving Hellgate Elementary to the Missoula Technology and Development Center, located at 5785 West Broadway. The Clinton School polling place will also be moved to the Clinton Community Church at 9653 Clown Lane.

Causby said the moves were prompted by ongoing construction at Hellgate and scheduling conflicts at Clinton. The new Hellgate location is smaller and voters could face longer wait times.

“If they choose to vote on Election Day at the Hellgate station, they need to expect a line,” she said. “It’s simply smaller than the gym at the middle school.”

The Elections Center at the fairgrounds is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, June 2. It will also close at noon on Monday, June 4, and reopen for Election Day.