School events impact Montana special election polling locations


MISSOULA, Mont. - With a special election around the corner elections offices are working to confirm polling locations across the state.

The special election to replace former Rep. Ryan Zinke after he was confirmed as Secretary of Interior will take place Thursday, May 25.

However elections offices say they're having trouble confirming polling locations due to graduation ceremonies and year-end events conflicting with Election Day.

Missoula County Elections Administrator Rebecca Connors says seven of Missoula County's 28 polling locations could be changed. She says the changes could impact around 26,000 people.

Connors says voters at Lolo, Chief Charlo, Cold Springs and Russell elementary schools will likely have a different polling place than in the general election.

She says the elections office hopes to reroute Lolo Elementary voters to the Lolo Community Center. Connors says she's working to confirm Meadow Hill Middle School as a polling location for voters at Chief Charlo, Cold Springs and Russell schools.

Connors says Missoulians who usually vote at Lowell, Franklin or Rattlesnake schools will also have alternate voting locations while the schools undergo construction.

Connors says Burns Street Bistro agreed to serve Lowell School voters as it did in the November election, but she is still waiting back to hear from Messiah Lutheran Church in the Rattlesnake and the Lifelong Learning Center to serve Franklin School voters.

Connors says elections workers are doing what they can to notify voters of changes through social media, mail and other channels -- which comes at a cost. She hopes to notify voters in all affected areas via mail. Last election she said postage to notify voters of polling location changes cost $690.

Connors says each new polling location must be confirmed 30 days before the election and pass a federal accessibility survey.

Connors says Hamilton High School in the Bitterroot Valley is not able to be a polling location due to special events. She says that could impact around 8,000 people.

She says polling location changes are affecting 18 polling places across Montana -- impacting around 50,000 voters.

Connors hopes all changes will be confirmed within the next three weeks. You can check your address, registration and polling location here.