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Voter Voices: Gallatin County Voters Are Thinking About The Outdoors

People vote in person at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds in Bozeman on election day, Nov. 03, 2020.
People vote in person at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds in Bozeman on election day, Nov. 03, 2020.

In Gallatin County, where 82 percent of absentee ballots had been returned by mid-morning, around 75 people stood in line at the fairgrounds a few hours after the polls opened. Volunteers in green vests asked people from different households to stay six feet apart, which was marked by orange cones.

Yellowstone Public Radio's Rachel Cramer spoke with several people after they cast their ballots. 

Taylor Tuiasosopo: My name is Taylor Tuiasosopo, I play football here. I'm a senior at MSU. I know for sure, our basketball teams and volleyball teams are all registered to vote. Most of our football team is voting or has already voted. So, uh, just trying to spread the word and tell people, you know, get out there and vote, sacrifice maybe an hour out of your day, but this is four years in the future. And you know, this is a big thing for a lot of people. You know, people think their vote might not matter. It's only one, but every vote counts at this point.

Colin Slade: I'm Colin Slade, I've worked for the Forest Service seasonally, and then living in Bozeman for about eight years now, jumping between Washington and Wyoming also. Primarily the presidential election is important to me today. I chose to vote democratic. I think there's a better chance of him adhering to more stringent environmental regulations than Donald Trump. Just from the little I know, I think, Steve Bullock is a better fit for Montana.

Joshua Miller: My name's Joshua Miller and I'm a lawn and landscape guy. I worked for a company here in Bozeman and I'm just mostly enthused that people are in good spirits treating each other kindly. I'm a Republican, but I don't vote just straight across the line on Republican values, but I do support Donald Trump.

I think he's done what he said he would do. And I think a lot of Montanans would agree with me that he doesn't just talk the talk, he walks the walk. It'd be nice if everyone worked together a little more and Democrats got some of their way sometimes too and we could compromise on some things, but there's certain things that you can't compromise on.

I mean, I don't support abortion. I respect women's rights at the same time, but I don't think that's a great, you know, if you could adopt that baby or you could do something else, I think that would be the best way to go. But I was raised Catholic and so that's kind of where my values come, but I don't expect everyone to agree with me.

I have friends that are Democrats and Libertarians, and we still try to get along as best we can. We just probably try to avoid talking politics when we're out in the outdoors fishing, hunting, hiking, doing Montana stuff.

Erin: My name's Erin, I just moved here to Bozeman and I work for Western Montana Mental Health.

Like a lot of Montanans, I think I care a lot about the conservation and use of land, whether it's public land or private land easements and kind of our access to public lands, hunting rights and trying to clean up the planet a little bit too and protect what we have here in Montana.

Mental health is a big one. A lot of insurance companies have really poor mental health policies and trying to get parody for that so that people who do have mental health can get the help that they need. Women's health, I think is the big one, too. Especially in my age range, that comes up a lot, whether it's as simple as access to birth control, all the way up to reproductive rights and giving women the right to choose and an education about how your bodies function, what medical help you might need.

I'm hoping for some sort of. Shake up so that when things land we have a little bit more change and maybe a little bit more, I don't want to say cohesion, because there's nothing wrong with conflict, but maybe you see a little bit more get done and passed within the legislation.

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