As of last night, the state reported 226,554 of 352,867 mailed ballots have been returned. That tally is 101% of 2014’s total mailed absentees, and 67% of 2016’s. With less than 2/3rds of mailed ballots already returned, we may see a lower return rate of mail-ins than in recent elections (the lowest, in the upper 80s, was 2014), but the number will likely balloon in the last few days. Over 71% of the vote in Montana is concentrated in 9 counties. Here’s how their returns stack up:
County (2016 Presidential vote, Gubernatorial vote) % returned
Cascade (voted for Trump by 22%, Bullock by 10%) 62.6% of mail-ins returned
Flathead (voted for Trump by 36%, Gianforte by 15%) 62.8% of mail-ins returned
Gallatin (voted for Clinton by 1%, Bullock by 15%) 58.7% of mail-ins returned
Lake (voted for Trump by 21%, Bullock by 1%) 69.2% of mail-ins returned
Lewis & Clark (voted for Trump by 7%, Bullock by 23%) 68.3% of mail-ins returned
Missoula (voted for Clinton by 16%, Bullock by 34%) 59.2% of mail-ins returned
Ravalli (voted for Trump by 38% Gianforte by 14%) 70.9% of mail-ins returned
Silver Bow (voted for Clinton by 14%, Bullock by 44%) 64.9% of mail-ins returned
Yellowstone (voted for Trump by 27%, Gianforte by 1%) 66.7% of mail-ins returned
Yellowstone, the largest county in the state by population, and typically a Republican one, still has not exceeded its 2014 mail-ins, but a pile of large counties have blown past midterm numbers: Ravalli is at 115% of its 2014 tally, Lewis and Clark 113%, Gallatin 108%, Flathead 104%, and Missoula 103%. All mail-ins must be received by Thursday, May 25th.
Correction: deadline for ballots was listed as Wednesday, but that was the deadline for an application to be received.