Missoula boasted over 75 percent voter turnout in the November 2016 Presidential election, just one of the many facts released by the City-County Elections Office on Wednesday afternoon.

Elections Administrator Rebecca Connors said the nearly 76 percent turnout was one of the highest in the state.

“Of all the ballots cast 72 percent were via absentee, while 27 percent were cast at the polling place,” Connors began. “By contrast, in 2008, 68 percent of votes were cast at the polling place, while the remainder were by absentee. We’ve done a complete 180 from the 2008 election of how ballots are cast in Missoula County.”

Connors said by statute, polling places must be available for all national elections.

“A lot of our local and school elections are all mail-in ballots,” she said. “We do see a very high percentage in absentee ballots, in fact, of the absentee ballots that were sent out, there was an 85 percent voter turnout. It’s very economical for us to use the mail-in ballots with more paper, but less labor cost, but as of now, any mail-in only ballot in a federal election is prohibited.”

Looking ahead, Connors said her staff will be preparing for a special election in the spring.

“We’re gearing up for the special election that’s coming up for the Zinke seat that will possibly be in May, just about the time when the school election is held, so  we’re learning more about that day by day,” she said. “All in all, voters had a positive experience on election day, whether it be at the fairgrounds or at their polling places. Things went very smoothly, and we’re gathering information on how to make the next election in 2018 so we can keep on improving the process.”

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