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Incorrectly sized ballots are delaying results in race for US home in Montana

HELEN, Mont. — Ballot misprints have delayed the election results for Montana’s new congressional seat, forcing a small northwestern county to hand-count votes in the Republican primary between former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and former State Senator Al “Doc” Olszewski.

Zinke led Olszewski by 1,064 votes or 1.3 percentage points out of 79,198 votes counted (as of Wednesday, 11 a.m. local time). Missoula County has 2,500 pending ballots that are not expected to be counted until Monday, while Lincoln County has an estimated 6,000 ballots to be hand counted.

A vendor printed the Lincoln County ballots on the wrong size paper, and they couldn’t be fed through a machine tab, the secretary of state’s office said Wednesday. By law, ballots must be either all counted by machine or all by hand, spokesman Richie Melby said.

Lincoln County Clerk and Recorder Robin Benson said in a statement the hand count is expected to take two to three days. Poll workers began counting the ballots on Tuesday.

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Zinke, a former Navy SEAL, was considered a favorite in the running and was endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

Montana received its second congressional seat through the post-census reallocation. Zinke had represented Montana in the state’s other congressional district before leaving to join the Trump administration.

Zinke’s tenure in the Trump administration has been marked by federal investigations into his travels, political activities, and potential conflicts of interest. An investigation found that Zinke lied to an agency ethics officer about his continued involvement in a commercial real estate deal in his hometown.

prong Resigned in early 2019in which he wrote that “malicious and politically motivated attacks” against him had created “an unfortunate distraction” in the accomplishment of the Home Office’s mission.

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The winner of the race between Zinke and Olszewski meets Democrat Monica Tranel, a lawyer, in November.

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https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2022/06/08/wrong-sized-ballots-delay-results-in-montana-us-house-race/ Incorrectly sized ballots are delaying results in race for US home in Montana

Sarah Y. Kim

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