Several regular Montana polling places will be closed to voting as people head to the polls for an unusual Thursday special election May 25. Roughly 50,000 registered voters will be rerouted to other polling places, say Montana’s county elections officials. To put that into perspective, the number of people with closed polling places is equal to Montana’s sixth largest county of voters in 2016. Closed polling places were a big concern among county elections officials as they backed a state bill for a mail-ballot-only election. The bill failed over Republican concerns that people who vote in person, who trend conservative, would be disenfranchised.
County election officials had also asked Gov. Steve Bullock to schedule the special election for June 6, a date that would have had Montanans voting on a Tuesday in the first full week of June, the date Montana’s primary elections are held. Elections officials struck out there, too.
Many of the polling places are already booked with other events and are unavailable for the state’s U.S. House special election. Bullock chose May 25 because it was the earliest day possible for the special election and he wanted Montana’s empty House seat filled.