Trial Run: Voters to cast ballots at single location

City precincts to be consolidated

Miles City voters will cast their ballots in a single location — rooms 106 and 107 at Miles Community College — in the May 25 special election to fill Montana’s lone congressional seat.

And, if all goes well, a single polling place for Miles City may become the norm.

This is one of those times when what seems to be a problem turns out to be an opportunity.

Linda Corbett, Clerk and Recorder for Custer County, had been discussing the idea of consolidating voting sites in Miles City with the county commissioners since last fall. 

Faced with the unexpected and costly special election, and the confusion over whether the election woud be by mail-only — Corbett and the County Commissioners decided to take a trial run at consolidation.

“I think it will save us money,” said Corbett. With only one voting site for six of the counties precincts, equipment won’t have to be distributed to several sites, which saves time and money. She said she also feels it will be convenient, for voters, for elections judges, and for officials at the schools and other buildings that had to clear space for election equipment.

Precinct #1, which voted at Washington Middle School; Precinct #2, Custer County District High School; Precinct #3, Highland Park School; Precinct #4, Jefferson School; Precinct #6, National Guard Armory and Precinct #8, Sheffield Moon Creek, will all vote at MCC. Rural precincts will continue to vote at their usual polling stations.

Corbett said she does not anticipate long lines and there will be parking set aside for voters. MCC will not be in session the day of the election.

The polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. for precincts one through four. Voters from Precinct #6 and Precinct #7 can vote from noon until 8 p.m.

Commissioner Keith Holmlund said that the college site is “easily accessible” for the handicapped or elderly voters.

Corbett added that if anyone wants a mail-in ballot, they can apply for an absentee ballot at the courthouse. Absentee ballots can be acquired until noon on May 24.

Corbett said if the election goes goes smoothly, she hopes that all future elections will be held at a single site.

All registered voters, both active and inactive, were mailed letters explaining the change. Voters already on the Absentee Ballot list will receive their ballots at the address listed on their voter registration.

Anyone with questions should call the Custer County Elections Office at (406) 374-3343

(Contact Amorette Allison at mcreporter@midrivers.com or (406) 234-0450.)