As of last night, the state reported 238,320 of 354,681 mailed ballots have been returned. That tally is 106% of 2014’s total mailed absentees, and 71% of 2016’s. 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%) 65.4% of mail-ins returned
Flathead (voted for Trump by 36%, Gianforte by 15%) 67.4% of mail-ins returned
Gallatin (voted for Clinton by 1%, Bullock by 15%) 62.5% of mail-ins returned
Lake (voted for Trump by 21%, Bullock by 1%) 71.6% of mail-ins returned
Lewis & Clark (voted for Trump by 7%, Bullock by 23%) 71.1% of mail-ins returned
Missoula (voted for Clinton by 16%, Bullock by 34%) 62.3% of mail-ins returned
Ravalli (voted for Trump by 38% Gianforte by 14%) 73.4% of mail-ins returned
Silver Bow (voted for Clinton by 14%, Bullock by 44%) 69.6% of mail-ins returned
Yellowstone (voted for Trump by 27%, Gianforte by 1%) 68.1% of mail-ins returned
Overall, 67.2% of mailed absentees have been turned in. For comparison, in 2016, 94.8% of absentees sent were returned, in 2014, 88.7%, and in 2012, 92.2%. We expect a considerable number will flood in tomorrow and thousands more will likely be dropped off at election offices and precincts by the deadline.
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 120% of its 2014 tally, Lewis and Clark 118%, Gallatin 115%, Flathead 113%, and Missoula 109%. All mail-ins must be received by Thursday, May 25th.