The first choices on the ballots will be counted in their precincts and reported on election night, just like plurality results are reported today. If any candidate has an outright majority of those first choices, we will know the winner then and there. If no candidate has a majority of first choices, the Secretary of State will collect the full ballot rankings from the cities and towns and conduct the “instant runoff” to decide the winner, possibly that same night or the following day.
Official results for Montana elections, regardless of voting method, are not required to be certified by the Board of State Canvassers until 27 days after the election is held. So regardless of whether the instant runoff is held on election night or the next day, Ranked Choice Voting will not delay the official results.