Long Registration Lines at Flathead County Courthouse

By Beacon Staff

The line of people at the Flathead County courthouse building, as of 6:30 p.m., stretched down from the Election Department on the second floor through the basement, out the back door and into the parking lot south of the building.

Between 300 and 350 people were waiting on line there as of 6:30 p.m. Tuesday night, according to Flathead County Comptroller Joe Garza, and the wait is roughly two hours.

“This is probably a little longer than we had expected,” Garza said, but added that just because the line is long, doesn’t mean things aren’t going smoothly. County workers are hustling to move people indoors to warm up, and hope the bad weather doesn’t dissuade anyone from voting. As long as people are in line by 8:00 p.m. when the polls close, they will be allowed to vote. After 8:00 p.m., Flathead County Sheriff’s deputies will prevent anyone else from joining the lines.

Uptown, at the Northwest Montana Fairgrounds, things were going smoothly, with waits approaching 25 minutes for some precincts, but most voters moving through in a few minutes.

County election officials will release absentee vote counts shortly after polls close at 8 p.m. Stick with the Beacon for updates through the night.