BUTTE, Mont. -- It's been a slow but steady stream of voters at the Butte Civic Center, the voting hub for Tuesday's primary elections in the Mining City.

Election officials say that the turnout in Butte is lower than expected, even for a non-presidential primary.

Absentee ballots, which typically fall around 70% turnout, are on the short side as well at 56-57%.

Linda Sajor-Joyce, the county clerk & recorder, believes there's a reason for this.

"I think that the voters have been confused about the poll election because of the mail ballot election in 2020 and the school district mail ballot election in May," Sajor-Joyce said. "People thought they were going to be getting absentee ballots and found out they weren't."

Sajor-Joyce says that kind of attitude shift can have a big impact that election officials need to be aware of.

"Having the election in 2020 being a mail ballot election changed perception of how things should be," Sajor-Joyce said. "Trying to get back into what we need to do make the experience good for the voters is paramount."

In addition to voting for candidates in Montana's newly formed 1st Congressional District, folks in Butte are voting on local tax issues.

These issues include a one-mill levy on property tax with the aim of raising $75,000 for Butte's Search & Rescue operations, a proposal on imposing a 3% county tax on medical marijuana sales, and a separate proposal for imposing the same tax on non-medical marijuana sales.

While the name "Mark Sweeney" isn't appearing on any ballots in the 1st District, it's worth noting that the Butte native and sitting state senator is still present on the 2nd District ballot for U.S. representative, despite the fact that Sweeney tragically died back in May.

As for results, Montana Right Now won't have information available until after the polls close at 8 p.m., so continue to follow our television and web coverage throughout the day.


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