Technical Difficulties Delay ‘Too-Close-to-Call Zinke/ Olszewski Vote by up to 24 hours, Lincoln County To Manually Count Ballots

ELECTION ADMINISTRATOR Paula Buff (left) swears in election judges and ballot counters for a long hand count process

Candidates Ryan Zinke and Al Olszewski likely won’t know who won their race for created second seat in the U.S. House until Thursday, after technical difficulties caused Lincoln County authorities to count the votes by hand after the automatic vote counting machine failed to work properly. While most victories in last night’s primaries were won by large margins and it won’t matter for them, these two candidates are neck-and-neck, with Zinke leading by a small margin.

According to Montana state senator Mike Cuffe, many of the ballots were trimmed too much and therefore were unable to work in the automatic counting machines. There are 15,000 registered electors in total and 60% requested write-in ballots. As a result, Election Administrator Paula Buff swore in election judges and ballot counters for a long hand count process.

“Ballots are counted by teams of three with one reading and two recording, similar to the process used in post-election audits.”

She wasn’t able to say exactly when all the results would be in, but said they were expected to be complete by Friday, if not sooner.


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