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Voting & Elections Toolkits

Voter Registration in Montana

Eligibility

  • Be registered as required by law.
  • Be 18 years old or older on or before the next election.
  • Be a citizen of the United States.
  • Have lived in Montana for at least 30 days.

Even if you meet the above eligibility qualifications, you cannot vote if:

Deadline

•Register to vote by 5 PM 30 days before election day.
•Late registration for most elections at the county election office or the designated location.
•Montana 2019 Municipal Primary and General Election Calendar: https://sosmt.gov/Portals/142/Elections/Documents/2019-Municipal-Election-Calendar.pdf

•Montana 2020 Election Calendars: https://sosmt.gov/elections/calendars/

Voter Registration
• Download a registration form here.
        •Print, complete and return to your county election office at least 30 days before election day

• OR: Late register after the 30-day regular registration deadline at your county election office or the designated location up to and including on election day, except for from noon until 5:00 p.m. the day before election day.

Fill out a registration form when you apply for or renew your driver’s license or State of Montana ID at the office where you apply for or renew your Montana driver’s license.

UPDATING OR CANCELLING REGISTRATION

Use the “My Voter Page”  to update or check your voter status.  https://app.mt.gov/voterinfo/

ID Requirements for Montana Voters

ID Requirements for Registration

For information about registering to vote:
       •visit http://www.sosmt.gov/elections/vote
       •You may also contact your county election administrator (https://sosmt.gov/Portals/142/Elections/Forms/electionadministrators.pdf?dt=1523473411709)  to register or update your registration.
         *visit My Voter Page to find out if you are registered to vote, where you are registered to vote, the location and directions to your polling place, the status of your absentee ballot, and to view a sample ballot.

Late registration is an option for people who miss the regular registration deadline. It is available starting the day after the close of regular registration, up until the close of polls on election day, and must be done at the county election office (or at the location designated by the election administrator), not at a polling place.

• Late registration is closed from noon to 5 p.m. on the day before the election. Although you can drop off a registration card during this time, you will not receive your ballot unless you return to the election office on Election Day.

• If you wish to avoid the possibility of long lines, register by the close of regular registration or as soon as possible after the start of the late registration period.

(source: FAQs: https://sosmt.gov/elections/faq/#voter-registration-and-late-registration)

ID Requirements for Voting

When voting at the polls, a current photo ID showing the elector’s name; or a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, voter registration confirmation, government check or other government document showing the elector’s current name and current address must be presented.

If you do not have any of the items listed above, you can still vote by requesting and filling out a “Polling Place Elector ID” form.

•Or, you can vote a provisional ballot. Your provisional ballot will be counted if you provide one of the items on the list to the county election office by 5:00 p.m. the day after the election, or mail it to the county election office postmarked by the day after the election.

 

Where to get an ID

Department of Motor Vehicles: Locations:https://dojmt.gov/driving/locations/

Obtaining a Driver’s License

•Montana Motor Vehicle Division (Dept of Justice) Driver’s licenses & ID Cards: https://dojmt.gov/driving/driver-licensing/

•Montana Motor Vehicle Division Online Resources: https://dojmt.gov/driving/onlineservices/

 

 

Casting a Ballot in Montana

Important Dates

June 2, 2020: Primary
November 3, 2020: General election

source: https://sosmt.gov/elections/faq/

Absentee voting

Any registered voter may vote by absentee ballot.

You can make a one-time request for an absentee ballot or you can request an absentee ballot for all elections. If you choose to receive a ballot for all elections, you're on the list for good! The only way your status would drop is if you move and do not notify the elections office. You must be a registered voter to request an absentee ballot. 

Absentee ballots for federal/state elections are mailed to eligible voters 25 days before election day. 

To vote absentee:

  • Fill out an Application for Absentee Ballot.
  • An application may be mailed, or dropped off at the county election office.
  • Applications must be received by the county election office by noon the day before the election. If you drop off the application you will be able to pick up the absentee ballot at the same time.
  • An absentee voting packet will be mailed to the address you indicated on your application, or you can pick up the packet at the county election office at the time you apply for the absentee ballot, if ballots are available at that time.
  • After voting the absentee ballot, return in the envelope(s) provided. READ INSTRUCTIONS INCLUDED WITH THE PACKET CAREFULLY. You can also view or print federal/state election absentee voting instructions.
  • Be sure to sign the affirmation on the return envelope before sending back or dropping off.  Note: The person to whom the ballot was issued must be the person signing the return envelope.
  • Absentee ballots must be received at the election office or polling place by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.

Military voters and voters who reside outside the U.S.

Note: the Electronic Absentee System is for voters covered under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizen Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) only. A user must affirm their eligibility under this Federal Law before using the system, under penalty of perjury.

In addition to the availability of the Electronic Absentee System, ballots are sent to the most current address on file for eligible military and overseas citizen voters 45 days before election day. The Secretary of State encourages covered voters to submit a new FPCA every year (and each time they move).

• The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) created special provisions to make registering to vote, obtaining, returning and tracking absentee ballots easier for members of the armed forces and certain overseas U.S. citizens while absent from their Montana voting residence. UOCAVA electors are most commonly identified as one of the following:

  • Member of the Uniformed Services or Merchant Marine on active duty
  • Spouse or dependent of a member of the Uniformed Services or Merchant Marine on active duty.
  • U.S. citizen residing outside the U.S.
  • Other individuals meeting definitions of “absent uniformed services voter” and “overseas voter” in Montana law (13-21-102, MCA).

 

 

 

Polling places and hours

•Use My Voter https://app.mt.gov/voterinfo/ to locate polling information

• Department of the Secretary of State in Montana voting information: https://sosmt.gov/elections/

Rides to the polls

If you cannot get to the polls try:

  • You can vote by mail.
  • You can catch a ride with a friend or neighbor.
  • Call your local election office to find out who is providing transportation in your community. Locate your office using My Voter < https://app.mt.gov/voterinfo/>.

Check https://carpoolvote.com/  to see if they have a ride sharing opportunity in your area.

 

Help for voters with disabilities

Election and Voting services for voters with disabilities.

Montana’s Statewide Elections have various options for voters with disabilities or voters who need special assistance, including the new Electronic Ballot Request System (EBRS), available for state and federal elections beginning 30 days before election day and through noon the day before election day.

  • EBRS – Overview
  • EBRS – Voter FAQs
  • Braille Voter Information Pamphlet is available upon request.  Please contact the Secretary of State’s Office at 406-444-9608 or email soselections@mt.gov
  • Every polling place in Montana has at least one specialized voting machine, called an AutoMARK, that enables people with disabilities to vote independently and privately.
  • If you cannot enter a polling place, election judges will assist you with “curbside voting.”
  • If you have a physical disability or are unable to read or write, you may ask an election judge to help you mark your ballot. Or, you can bring any individual (other than your employer or employer’s agent or union agent) who, with the permission of the election judge, can go into the voting booth with you and help you vote.
  • You may also designate an agent to assist you with the voting process on the Designation of Agent by Individual with Disability form. Deliver the signed application to your local election office.
  • You may apply for an electronic ballot that can be marked on your personal computer, printed and returned by mail or in person to the election office.
  • The Voter Information Pamphlet published by the Secretary of State for each state general election is available in Braille and audio formats.
  • Accessible Forms

Contact soselections@mt.gov if you have a voting accessibility suggestion or concern.

2018 audio and large type ballots were located below. Current ballots will be updated. Contact soselections@mt.gov  if these do not update.

  • Large Print Voter Information Pamphlet
  • Audio version is found on the 2018 Ballot Issues site

 

Ballots

Use the MY VOTER  page to see a sample ballot.

 

Elections

Primaries vs. general elections

•In Montana, a voter does not need to vote in a primary election in order to vote in a general election.
There is no party registration in Montana. Individuals who vote in a primary election are given all the parties’ ballots, and can choose in private which party ballot they wish to vote. Voters in a primary election cannot vote more than one party’s ballots.

Current Measures on the 2020 Montana Ballot can be seen HERE

 

Who are the candidates, and what else is on the ballot?

Ballot Issue Overview, Forms, and Guidelines

Proposed 2020 Ballot Issues:
A citizen proposed ballot issue can only appear on the federal general election ballot once the proposed language has fulfilled three requirements. First, the language must be submitted to Montana’s Legislative Services Division. Second, the Montana Attorney General must conduct a legal review. Finally, after the review process is complete, and the sponsor has been notified by the Secretary of State of the approval or rejection of the ballot issue, the sponsor must collect sufficient verified signatures from qualified voters in Montana.

Important Dates

The general election will be: November 3, 2020

The Montana State Elections Calender may be updated. Check frequently.

Who conducts elections?

The Elections Division of the Montana Secretary of State's Office oversees elections: https://sosmt.gov/elections/

 

 

Every Montanan has a right to an elections process that is open, honest, fair, and accurate.

Montanans expect that any eligible citizen in the state who wants to vote should be able to vote.  They also expect that the signature gathering process for initiatives and referendums be conducted in accordance with Montana law.

Citizens and voters play a critical role in maintaining a fair election process for all Montanans.

If you witness any suspicious activity that affects elections or ballot issue signature gathering anywhere in Montana, please report it directly to our office as soon as possible by clicking the button to the right and filling out the associated form.

Montana Fair Elections Center

Where to go with complaints about candidates or how elections are conducted

Montana Fair Elections Center

  • Download and email a report of the activity you witnessed to: fairelections@mt.gov.
  • Contact a member of my elections staff at (406) 444-9608.
  • Download and fax a report of the Potential Election Law Violation Report to (406) 444-2023.
  • Download and mail a Potential Election Law Violation Report to the address below:

Mailing Address:
Secretary of State Corey Stapleton
Fair Elections Center
P.O. Box 202801
Helena, Montana 59620-2801

This completed report will allow the Montana Secretary of State to create a record of possible election violations, so that the office may document allegations and refer any questionable actions to the appropriate County Attorney, County Election Administrator, or to the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices.

Please note that while the Montana Secretary of State does not have the legal authority to investigate or prosecute suspected voter fraud, the office may share the information provided in this form with local law enforcement in the county where the alleged violation occurred or with the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices.

You may be contacted to provide additional information about the alleged incident. If this complaint involves signature gathering for a ballot issue, the sponsor of the ballot issue in question may be sent a copy of this complaint.

Campaign finance

Montana Electronic Reporting System Dashboard 

Montana Commissioner of Political Practices works to Promote confidence, transparency, and accountability in Montana's democratic processes. They offer online services to help you with complaints, ethics concerns and campaign financing.

How to contact your elected officials:

Montana.gov lists the statewide elected officials, State Agency contact information, the State Constitution, and more.

The Montana State Legislature site lists State Legislators and their contact information.

Montana State Legislature offers a "lookup" site also.

While the Montana Association of Counties no longer provides on-line contact information, check their site for other ways to locate County officials.

General Resources on Voting and Elections

General Resources on Voting and Elections


Hotlines


1-866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683)

1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en Español)

1-888-API-VOTE (Asian multilingual assistance)


Voter Registration & Election Day Resources

Find useful voter information including:

  • Local Election Office and Contact Information
  • Address, Telephone and Email for Local Election Offices
  • Upcoming Federal Election Dates and Deadlines
  • Upcoming State Election Dates and Deadlines
  • Eligibility Requirements
  • Identification Requirements
  • Voter Materials Transmission Options
  • State Lookup Tools – Am I Registered? Where’s my Ballot?

Population-Specific information and Resources

Voting Rights: Laws, Cases, Policy

Voter Engagement

Voter Education

Campaign Finance/Funding Information

Primary Sources, Lesson Plans & Exhibits

Disclaimer

Librarians from the Government Documents Round Table (GODORT), a Round Table of the American Library Association (ALA), created these reference guides. These guides are intended for informational purposes only and are not in any way intended to be legal advice.

These guides are designated with a Creative Commons license and re-use and modification for educational purposes is encouraged.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.