Friday, November 7, 2008



It’s been three days since the historic election, and Missoula County is still counting ballots.

Vickie Zeier, head of the county’s Office of Elections, and her staff worked for more than 24 hours straight Tuesday before calling it quits at 5 a.m. Wednesday. By that point, 99 of 101 precincts had been counted and Zeier was starting to see some mistakes in her staff’s work.

Despite the hectic schedule, Zeier said, the elections were “pretty successful” despite 85 percent of active registered voters casting ballots.

She credits her staff, including 550 polling judges, for making sure that every one of the nearly 60,000 voters was able to vote in a timely manner, avoiding the long lines seen elsewhere in the country.

The two uncounted precincts were both in Alberton and had errors with the card-reading machine. The ballots from those precincts will be hand-counted on Monday.

Zeier needs to finish counting those precincts, clear 868 provisional ballots and tabulate military ballots before Monday at 3 p.m., when an elections counting board will go over her final numbers.

The board will look at the number of votes cast and compare it to the final tallies of ballots counted. The two numbers are supposed to match, said Zeier. If they don’t, the board will need to resolve the discrepancy.

By Wednesday, official results from the county election must be at the Secretary of State’s office in Helena.

As for Zeier, once the ballots are all finalized and the election season is officially over, she’s going on a two-week vacation.

“I deserve it,” she said.

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