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Government & Politics

Yellowstone County voters head to the polls for primary election

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Jess Sheldahl
/
Yellowstone Public Radio
Voters walk out of the Montana Pavilion at MetraPark in Billings on Tuesday, June 7.

A steady stream of people flowed through the doors of the Montana Pavillion in Metra Park to drop off ballots Tuesday morning a few hours after polls opened for Montana’s primary election.

“A considerable amount of people have already absentee voted,” Yellowstone County election official Kevin Gillen said. “So, this is nice. It’s been a little bit more steady than I thought, to tell you the truth.”

Beside voting for primary candidates to run in the November general election for local, state and federal office, voters in Yellowstone County are deciding whether to continue recreational marijuana operations.

Scott Lund says the recreational marijuana question drew him to the polls, where he navigated the state’s new election laws.

“It went well, it went smooth,” Lund said. “I had a little trouble, a little change of address and it took them a few minutes to get it straightened out and I just had to wait a little bit and it got taken care of.

"I got to vote.”

Billings resident Barbara Williams found the voting process for Tuesday’s primary simple and cast her ballot to support Republican candidates.

“Because I want to try to vote the Democrats out,” Williams said. “And I’m getting my husband’s vote and my vote and my kids vote. Anyone who can vote is gonna vote Republican.”

Those who registered to vote before noon on Monday have until 8 p.m. Tuesday to turn in their ballots to their local polling place. Another new voting law requires people to have photo identification when casting a ballot.

A few people ran back to their cars to get IDs on Tuesday morning, but election official Lloyd Swords says getting rid of same day registration has made collecting ballots easier.

“Just from a logistics standpoint,” Swords said. “You know, there’s so many days between elections and it's so easy to get registered to vote. It made it so difficult for that same-day registration.”

Swords said as of this morning, he hadn’t seen anyone get turned away due to new election laws.