Republican Greg Gianforte and Democrat Rob Quist are already campaigning in the special election to replace Rep. Ryan Zinke in Congress. But less than 80 days before that election is held, a bill that could change the way it’s conducted is still making its way through the Montana Legislature. County clerks and recorders around the state are already rushing to get ready for the May 25 special election.
“Under ordinary circumstances, they have two years to prepare and plan for a federal election, and now they have 78 days,” said Linda Stoll, a representative for the Montana Association of Clerks and Recorders and Election Administrators. “So that is very challenging.”
Some of the biggest issues include polling places and election judges. Stoll says many of the locations election administrators usually use as polling places aren’t available on a Thursday in late May, which could mean people will have to vote at places they’re not used to. She also says many counties are still well behind the number of judges to staff all their polls.