Republicans sweep the ballot

Recreational marijuana also voted in
Thursday, November 5, 2020
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Sen. Steve Daines (top left) and U.S. Congressman and Governor-Elect Greg Gianforte.

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Republican leadership has swept the 2020 ballot with help from Stillwater voters.

Stillwater residents came out with strong support for Republican candidates and voted along party lines on initiatives.

Between record-breaking absentee ballot returns and in-person voting, 5,758 votes were cast among 6,819 registered voters. That accounts for an 84 percent voter turnout.

In the 2016 general election 5,006 votes were cast in the county, which accounted for 82 percent of registered voters.

Voter turnout for the state of Montana rang in at 574,822 ballots cast, that is 77 percent of registered voters. The previous high was in 2016 with 516,901 votes cast.

Stillwater Election Administrator Heidi Stadel said that the county broke records when it came to absentee ballot returns, with 3,876 ballots accepted.

At press time, 468 precincts in Montana have completed reporting while 185 have partially completed counting the votes.

Stillwater ballots showed immense support for President Donald Trump and Vice President Michael Pence: 78 percent of Stillwater voters marked the president for reelection while 20 percent voted for Joe Biden and running mate Kamala Harris.

President Trump won over Montanans with 56 percent of the vote with Biden trailing at 41 percent.

As of press time, national votes are still rolling in to determine who will win the presidency.

Gov. Steve Bullock conceded to incumbent Senator Steve Daines in a 55 to 45 percent loss. Daines will welcome another six years in the senate.

The race was closely watched by the nation, as the seat was necessary for Democrats to regain a majority in the U.S. Senate.

Stillwater County supported Daines in his reelection bid where he won 78 percent of the vote.

Republican Matt Rosendale, who took the lead with 56 percent of the vote to Kathleen Williams’ 44 percent, will fill Montana’s single seat in the House of Representatives.

Rosendale lead in Stillwater county with 76 percent of the vote, leaving Williams with 24 percent.

A Republican will take the governor’s office after 16 years of Democratic control. Montanans named Greg Gianforte as the next governor with 54 percent of voters supporting the candidate. Lieutenant Governor Mike Cooney received 42 percent of the vote.

Stillwater voters again demonstrated republican support as 75 percent voted for Gianforte while 22 percent voted for Cooney.

Republicans continue the sweep in the Secretary of State race with Christi Jacobsen winning 59 percent of the vote to Bryce Bennett’s 41 percent. Cory Stapleton has held the seat since 2017.

Stillwater voted Jacobsen in by a landslide at 79 percent to Bennett’s 21 percent.

Montanans voted in Republican attorney general Austin Knudsen with 58 percent of the vote. Raph Graybill brought in 42 percent.

In Stillwater County, voters supported Kundsen in 79 percent of the vote and Graybill in 21 percent.

Republican Troy Downing won state auditor position with 55 percent of the state vote to Democrat Shane Morigeau’s 40 percent.

Stillwater voted 76 percent in favor for Downing and 20 percent for Morigeau.

Finally, Elsie Arntzen took 52 percent of the Montana vote for state superintendent, leaving 44 percent of the vote to Melissa Romano.

Stillwater residents supported Arntzen with 71 percent of their vote with 25 percent voting for Romano.

BALLOT INITIATIVES

The majority of Montanans voted to legalize and decriminalize recreational marijuana with 57 percent of the state voting in favor for the initiative and 43 percent voting against it.

The measure will start the process of creating a recreational marijuana system in the state with an additional 20 percent tax added to the sale to go to Montana’s general fund.

The measure allows each county to decide if they want to allow recreational marijuana dispensaries in their county.

Montana voters want to make sure the substance is accessible only to those over the age of 21, according to the support for constitutional initiative 118 (CI-118).

CI-118 will amend the Montana Constitution to allow the state to set the minimum buying age of 21 years old. The initiative passed with 58 percent of the state vote with 42 percent respectively.

Stillwater residents primarily opposed recreational marijuana with 59 percent voting against it and 41 percent voting in favor of the initiative.

On CI-118, 56 percent of Stillwater voters said no to the amendment and 44 voted in favor.

It was a close race for legislative referendum 130 (LR-130), which asked voters to remove local governments power to regulate conceal and carry permits.

Montana voters decided yes, local government should not be able to impose tighter restrictions on conceal and carry permits with 51 percent of the vote; 43 percent of voters opposed the measure.

Stillwater County supported the measure with 58 percent of the vote and 42 percent voting against the measure.