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Election news from Yellowstone Public Radio and its partners to help you make an informed decision at the polls.

Gallatin County saw large number of absentee ballots brought to drop boxes on Election Day

A voter drops off mail-in ballots at the Yellowstone County Court House June 2, 2020.
Nicky Ouellet
Yellowstone Public Radio
A voter drops off mail-in ballots.

A Gallatin County election official says a large number of voters dropping off absentee ballots in person on Election Day is partly why it took longer to count ballots.

Clerk and Recorder Eric Semerad says counting wrapped up about around 12:30 a.m. Thursday, which was about 5 hours later than the 2018 midterms.

“We had so many ballots come in from the polling places, the absentee ballots from the polling places, that really affected the processing that we had to do afterwards,” he said.

Another factor: people waiting in line at the courthouse past 10 p.m. to register or vote in person.

“It seemed like the whole election was backloaded," Semerad said. "There was a lot of delay - people weren’t sending in their ballot early on in the election and it really kind of came at the end.”

More than 7,200 absentee ballots were brought to drop boxes at polling places and the courthouse on Election Day.

Olivia Weitz covers Bozeman and surrounding communities in Southwest Montana for Yellowstone Public Radio. She has reported for Northwest News Network and Boise State Public Radio and previously worked at a daily print newspaper. She is a graduate of the University of Puget Sound and the Transom Story Workshop.