After months of campaigning, voters in Montana are finally headed to the polls to select who they want to serve as their voice in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The special election for the House seat takes place Thursday, and it’s to replace former Rep. Ryan Zinke, who was confirmed by the Senate in March to become President Donald Trump‘s Interior secretary.
There were no primaries in the election, which means each political party nominated their candidate for the race.
The Republicans nominated Greg Gianforte, a businessman who had a failed run at governor in 2016. The Democrats selected Rob Quist, who’s best known for his musical talents. The third-party candidate in the race is Libertarian Mark Wicks.
Gianforte has led in the polls ever since the nominees were announced, but a violent incident that occurred Wednesday — just hours before the polls officially opened — could play a factor in his chances to win the seat. He is accused of “body slamming” The Guardian U.S. reporter Ben Jacobs and breaking his glasses.
Following multiple interviews with witnesses, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office charged Gianforte with misdemeanor assault. It issued a news release late in the evening Wednesday saying that interviews with witnesses gave it probable cause to do so. Sheriff Brian Gootkin also addressed a $250 campaign contribution to Gianforte in the statement.
The circumstances surrounding the race certainly make for an interesting night ahead as votes are tallied.
Here’s what you need to know as you head to the polls:
POLLING HOURS & LOCATIONS: In Montana, different parts of the state open at different hours. Most polling places open between 7 a.m. and noon. They all close at 8 p.m. If you’re in line before 8 p.m. and haven’t yet voted, you’ll be able to vote after the polls officially close.
The at-large special election is for all voters in the state of Montana. Click here and enter the proper information to find out your polling location.
REGISTRATION GUIDELINES: Montana permits early and absentee voting and same-day registration, but election laws don’t allow voters to register online. In order to vote in Montana, you have to be a United States citizen and a resident of Montana for at least 30 days before the election. Voters are required to be at least 18 years old by Election Day. Late registration is available on-site at polling locations.
Click here for a printable voter registration application, which you can bring to your polling location and make things easier. Click here and follow the instructions to see if you are registered to vote in the election.
When registering, you are required to provide your Montana driver’s license or ID number. If you don’t have a Montana driver’s license, you can provide the last four digits of your Social Security number. In addition to the ID, you are required to provide an address for a residence.
WHAT’S AT STAKE: Montana’s at-large district has been held by a Republican since 1997. Zinke won the election in 2014 and 2016 by nearly 15 points. But the race has gained steam in recent weeks as it’s made many national headlines and outside money has been pouding in.
In the last week of campaigning, Quist announced that he had $6 million in campaign contributions. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has gotten in on the action, too, campaigning with Quist on a tour of the state.
Notably, Trump’s son, Donald Jr., has been active in the race at Gianforte campaign events.