Montana Voters at Polls Till Midnight

| Wed Nov. 8, 2006 1:07 PM EST

Turns out that voters in at least one Montana county, Gallatin County (think A River Runs Through It), stood in line until midnight waiting to cast ballots. Montana, of course, along with Virginia are the all-important show-me states, with the outcome of their Senate races to determine party majority in the US Senate.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle has this to say this morning:

An unknown number of people waited for hours Tuesday at the Gallatin County Courthouse to cast their votes in the general election, their bodies clogging hallways and stairwells on two floors. None of them had registered to vote before Election Day, so all of them had to register before they cast their ballots.

Yes folks, people in Montana can register to vote ON election day. And it seems lots of the last-minute voters were college students, who make up much of the county, Bozeman being home to Montana State University. People were still waiting in line till just before midnight waiting to submit their ballots.

"It's a highly contested race and I think a lot of people turned out just to voice their opinion," said Bob Olson, who had been waiting in line for more than two hours. That race being the Burns/Tester contest which likely led to the high turnouts in the county -- one Gallatin County precinct reported a turnout of 88 percent, while another one ran out of ballots and had to have the elections office send them more, according to the Chronicle.

In 2004, Gallatin County was one of the last counties in Montana to report its results after the presidential election. In that case, problems with the voting machines delayed vote counts, and as a result the final numbers were not available until early Wednesday morning.

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