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Election Administration in Montana

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Election Types and Dates

Election Dates

Upcoming Primary Elections

The primary election is June 7, 2016.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Montana 2016 Primary and General Election Calendar [link]

Upcoming General Elections

The general election is November 8, 2016.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Montana 2016 Primary and General Election Calendar [link]

How is a nominee determined?

How is a nominee determined (caucus, primary, convention)?

Primaries.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 3-10-401 [link]

Mont. Code § 13-1-101(35) [link]

Mont. Code § 13-1-107 [link]

Political Party Affiliation

Can voters register by party in the state?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Montana Voter Registration Application [link]

Must voters be registered with a political party if they would like to vote on that party’s candidates in a partisan primary election (i.e., are primaries open or closed)?

Primaries are open; voters can choose any one party's ballot to vote in a primary election.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-10-301 [link]

Voter Registration

Who Can Vote?

What are the state's residency requirements for voters?

To be eligible to vote, a person must have lived in Montana and in their county for at least 30 days.

For persons experiencing homelessness, they must, when registering to vote, provide the election administrator with any specific geographic location information from which the location of the voter's residence may be determined by the election administrator.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-1-111(1) [link]

Mont. Code § 13-2-208(1) [link]

Can someone pre-register to vote if they will not be 18 years old by the next election? If so, who?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-2-205 [link]

Mont. Admin. R. § 44.3.2010(4) [link]

Can 17-year-olds who will be 18-year-olds by the general election vote in the primary?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-2-205 [link]

Mont. Admin. R. § 44.3.2010(4) [link]

Does the state take away the right to vote from persons convicted of certain crimes? If so, what crimes?

Yes, persons convicted of a felony lose the right to vote while they are in prison.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-2-402(4) [link]

Mont. Code § 13-1-111 [link]

If people lose the right to vote because of a criminal conviction, can they regain the right to vote? How?

Yes, persons convicted of a felony automatically regain the right to vote once they are released from prison. They will need to re-register to vote.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-2-402(4) [link]

Mont. Code § 13-1-111 [link]

Voter Registration Options

Is fully online voter registration available? (i.e., can voters fill in and submit an online application without printing and signing it?)

No. A person in Montana may "pre-register" to vote by using Montana's Online Voter Pre-Registration System, but the person's registration will not be complete until they go to county election office or a late registration location and physically sign the electronic pre-registration application. Click here to access the system.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Montana's Online Voter Pre-Registration System [link]

Does the state accept the National Mail Registration Form?

Yes. Click here to download the form.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

National Mail Voter Registration Form [link]

Is the state required to register voters at public assistance agencies and driver's license agencies, per the National Voter Registration Act of 1993?

Yes.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

U.S. Department of Justice website [link]

Student-Specific Rules

Does the state have specific rules on students registering to vote or voting?

Students may register and vote either at the address where they live while attending school or at their permanent address in another county (such as their parents' address).

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Montana Voter Information [link]

Voter Registration Deadlines

When is the voter registration deadline?

The regular voter registration deadline is 30 days before Election Day.

However, voters can still ""register late"" after this deadline by completing a voter registration application and submitting it to the county election administrator's office. People can submit these late voter registration applications starting 29 days before Election Day and ending when the polls close on Election Day itself, except that late applications are not accepted between 12:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. on the day before Election Day. If a person submits a late application, the person must pick up an absentee ballot from the county administrator's office in person, and they must return that ballot to a location designated by the county administrator, either in person or by mail.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Admin. R. § 44.3.2015 [link]

Mont. Code § 13-2-301 [link]

Mont. Code § 13-2-304 [link]

Mont. Admin. R. § 44.3.2003 [link]

How is the deadline enforced for mailed applications?

Postmark and receipt - Mailed applications must be postmarked 30 days before Election Day and received by the 27th day before Election Day. Otherwise, the applicant will be required to go through the late registration process.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Stat. § 13-2-301 [link]

Voter Registration Drives

Does the state require organizations conducting voter registration drives to register?

No.

Are there restrictions on getting voter registration forms?

Montana law does not address this issue.

Does the state require any training in order to conduct voter registration drives?

No.

Does the state have restrictions on who may help others register to vote?

No.

Does the state have restrictions on paying drive workers, or additional rules related to payment?

Montana law does not address this issue.

Are there restrictions on the voter registration drive offering something of value to a person in exchange for completing a voter registration application?

Federal law states that whoever ""pays or offers to pay or accepts payment either for registration to vote or for voting shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than five years."" At least one federal appellate court has interpreted ""payment"" as ""intended to include forms of pecuniary value offered or given directly to an individual voter, and indicated the value should be based on ""an assessment of the monetary worth of an item from the perspective of the voter receiving the item."" That case held that food vouchers could be ""payment.""

Another example is California's Secretary of State's interpretation of the federal law to mean that ""Any type of incentive is considered 'payment,' even things as seemingly innocent as cookies or admission to an entertainment event.""

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

52 U.S.C. § 10307(c) [link]

California Secretary of State's Guide to Voter Registration Drives, p. 11 [link]

United States v. Garcia, 719 F.2d 99, 102-103 (5th Cir. 1983) [link]

Must the registration drive worker sign the completed voter registration application, and must the drive or canvasser place other information on applications?

No.

Does the state have a rule requiring a receipt or other tracking information to be provided to the applicant?

No.

Are there restrictions on copying completed voter registration applications prior to submitting them to the election official, or other restrictions on data entry or disclosure?

Montana law does not address this issue. However, the election administrator must ensure that the voter's driver’s license number or last four digits of their Social Security number remains private and accessible only by authorized county election officials and, when applicable, by the authorized staff of the office of the Secretary of State.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Admin. R. § 44.3.2005(2)(b) [link]

Is there a time limit for voter registration groups to submit the voter registration applications they collect?

Montana law does not address time limits, however an application must be turned in by 30 days before the election for the person to vote in the election without having to pick up an absentee ballot in person at the county election administrator's office. In addition, a person, other than an election official, who is supporting an organized effort to register voters may not mail or advise an applicant to mail a voter registration application to any address other than the county election administrator's address in the applicant's county of residence.

Montana law provides that a person who knowingly violates a provision of the election laws of Montana for which no other penalty is specified is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-2-301(1)(a) [link]

Mont. Code § 13-35-602 [link]

Mont. Code § 13-35-103 [link]

Mont. Code § 13-35-604 [link]

Same-Day Registration

Can voters register and vote on the same day (i.e., does the state offer same-day registration)?

Yes. However, such people must register and vote in their county election administrator's office; they cannot register and vote at a polling place.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Admin. R. § 44.3.2015 [link]

Voters Who Have Moved or Changed Their Name

Can people vote if they moved, but did not update their voter registration with their new address?

If a voter moved to a new address that is within the same precinct as their old address, or is within the same county as their old address, the voter may vote at their polling place and update their registration address at the polls. Such voters may also vote an absentee ballot by mail so long as they include with their ballot a completed voter registration application or transfer form that updates their registration address.

If a voter moved to a new address that is in a different county less than 30 days before Election Day, the voter may either vote at their previous polling place or by absentee ballot in their old county, or they may vote at their new polling place or by absentee ballot in their new county. If they vote at their new polling place or by absentee ballot in their new county, the voter must follow the late-registration procedures, and they must include with their ballot a completed voter registration application or transfer form that updates their registration address.

If a late voter registration applicant (someone registering to vote or updating their registration record after the voter registration deadline) is registered in another county and appears in their new county's election office in order to transfer their voter registration to the new county, then the applicant will be given (1) a regular ballot, if the applicant's old county has not yet printed supplemental registers, or (2) a provisional ballot, if the applicant's county has already printed supplemental registers.

For more information on late voter registration procedures, see the question ""When is the voter registration deadline?"" in the ""Voter Registration Deadlines"" section above.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-2-512 [link]

Mont. Admin. R. § 44.3.2015 [link]

Mont. Code § 13-2-514 [link]

Can people vote if they have changed their name, but did not update their voter registration with their new name?

Yes, voters may cast a ballot under their old name and update their registration name at the polls or, if they vote by absentee ballot by mail, by including with their ballot a completed voter registration application or transfer form updates their registration name.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-2-512 [link]

Mont. Admin. R. § 44.3.2015 [link]

Language, Literacy, and Disability Access

Language and Literacy Access

Does the state have any places that must provide election materials in languages other than English, per Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Voting Rights Act Amendments of 2006, Determinations Under Section 203, 76 Fed. Reg. 63602 (Oct. 13, 2011) [link]

Does the state have any other rules about providing election materials in languages other than English?

No.

Who can help a voter with reading assistance or translation if they can't vote on their own?

Under Section 208 of the federal Voting Rights Act, any voter who requires assistance to vote due to inability to read or write may be given assistance by a person of the voter's choice, other than the voter's employer, an agent of that employer, or an officer or agent of the voter's union.

Montana law also allows a voter who needs assistance due to inability to read or write to request assistance from election judges. Upon the voter's request, two election judges from different political parties will assist the voter. If two election judges from different political parties are not available, the chief election judge will appoint two election judges from the same party to assist the voter.

State law requires the voter sign an oath attesting that they require assistance.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

52 U.S.C. § 10508 (federal law) [link]

Mont. Code § 13-13-119 [link]

Disability Access

Who can help a voter with a disability if they can't vote on their own?

Under Section 208 of the federal Voting Rights Act, any voter who requires assistance to due to blindness or disability may be given assistance by a person of the voter's choice, other than the voter's employer, an agent of that employer, or an officer or agent of the voter's union.

Montana law also allows a voter who needs assistance due to a disability to request assistance from election judges. Upon the voter's request, two election judges from different political parties will assist the voter. If two election judges from different political parties are not available, the chief election judge will appoint two election judges from the same party to assist the voter.

State law requires the voter sign an oath attesting that they require assistance.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

52 U.S.C. § 10508 (federal law) [link]

Mont. Code § 13-13-119 [link]

Does the state have other rules related to access for persons with disabilities?

A voter with a disability may request (including by an e-mail request) that their local election administrator send them an electronic ballot. The voter will then receive the ballot over the internet, which the voter can mark online, print, and return to the elections office by mail or in person, so long as it is received by the elections office by the time the polls close on Election Day.

Alternatively, Montana has ""curbside voting,"" which allows a voter who has a disability that prevents them from entering the polling place to mark their ballot from just outside of the polling place, such as in their car. The chief election judge will appoint two election judges, who must be of different political parties if available, to deliver the voter a ballot. They will allow the voter to mark the ballot and then return the ballot to the polling place.

Additionally, whenever any election-related document, such as a voter registration application, requires a signature, a person who has a disability that prevents them from signing may instead choose to write their mark, provide a fingerprint, or have an election administrator, election judge, or agent sign on their behalf. To appoint an agent, the voter must fill out an agent designation form and submit it to to their local election office. Click here to download the form.

Additionally, Montana law does not allow to vote any person who has been adjudged by a court to be of ""unsound mound.""

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-13-118 [link]

Mont. Code § 13-13-246 [link]

Mont. Code § 13-1-116 [link]

Mont. Code § 13-1-111(3) [link]

Early Voting, Absentee Voting, and Other Ways to Vote

Vote-by-Mail

Does the state provide mail ballots to all voters without a request?

No, local election officials may decide to conduct municipal elections, and county special elections that do not occur at the same time as other elections, entirely by mail ballot.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-19-104 [link]

Early Voting/Absentee In-Person Voting

Does the state have early voting/absentee in-person voting?

Yes, Montana has in-person absentee voting.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-13-222 [link]

Where does early voting/absentee in-person voting take place?

At the county election administrator's office.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-13-222 [link]

When does early voting/absentee in-person voting take place?

It begins as soon as absentee ballots are available in the county and ends at noon on the day before Election Day. Absentee ballots must be made available no later than 25 days before Election Day, except for school district elections and special district elections, for which absentee ballots must be made available no later than 20 days before Election Day.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-13-205 [link]

Mont. Code § 13-13-222 [link]

Mont. Code § 13-13-211 [link]

Are lists of early voters/absentee in-person voters published? How?

The county election administrator must keep a list of names of all people who were issued absentee ballots, and they must post this list at the polling place on Election Day.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-13-233 [link]

Absentee Voting by Mail

Can anyone vote absentee by mail without an excuse? If not, what excuses allow a voter to vote absentee by mail?

Yes, any voter can vote an absentee ballot by mail without an excuse.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-13-201(1) [link]

Deadline to apply for absentee ballot by mail

The application must be received by noon the day before Election Day.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-13-211 [link]

How does a voter apply for an absentee mail ballot?

A voter can apply for an absentee ballot by using an official absentee ballot application, which is available at the county election administrator's office and can be downloaded here, or by sending the county election administrator a written request for an absentee ballot that includes the voter's birthdate and signature (and it is recommended that the voter include the address they would like the absentee ballot mailed to). The voter may submit the application to the county election administrator in person, by mail, or by fax.

At any time, a voter can also request to be mailed an absentee ballot for every future election in which the voter continues to live at their current address.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-13-212 [link]

Mont. Admin. R. § 44.3.2205 [link]

Mont. Admin. R. § 44.3.2203(2) [link]

Can a voter make an online request for an absentee mail ballot?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-13-212 [link]

Mont. Admin. R. § 44.3.2205 [link]

Does a voter need to submit any supporting documentation or verification with an absentee mail ballot or absentee mail ballot application? If so, what is required?

No, except that provisionally registered voters (that is, voters who have submitted a voter registration application but whose eligibility has not been confirmed) must submit ID with their absentee ballot, or it will be treated as a provisional ballot. (For more information, see the Voter ID section below.)

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-13-241(1)(c) [link]

Mont. Code § 13-1-101(37) [link]

Mont. Admin. R. § 44.3.2304 [link]

Are there restrictions on who may request or turn in an absentee mail ballot application for a voter?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-13-213(2) [link]

Mont. Code § 13-13-212(1)(b) [link]

Deadline to return absentee ballots

Absentee ballots must be received by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-13-201(3) [link]

Are there restrictions on who may return a voter's absentee mail ballot for them?

The election administrator may, at their office, give a ballot to a person who is not the voter, if all of the following requirements are met:

  • The voter has designated the person either by a signed letter or by making the designation on their absentee ballot application form; and
  • The designated person verifies, by signature, that they are receiving the ballot; and
  • The election administrator believes that the person receiving the ballot is the designated person; and
  • The designated person has not previously picked up ballots for four other voters.

The designated voter must then deliver the blank absentee ballot to the voter.

Montana law does not specifically address whether the voter can designate a person to return a completed absentee ballot for them.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-13-214(1)(c) [link]

Are there any special emergency rules that allow a voter to vote absentee by mail if they are unable to make it to the polls at the last minute?

Yes. A voter who is ill or experiences a health emergency after 5:00 p.m. on the Friday before Election Day may request that the special absentee election board deliver them a ballot at their home, hospital, or other place where they are confined. The voter may make this request by phone, fax, or other means.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-13-211(2) [link]

Mont. Code § 13-13-212(2) [link]

Are lists of people who vote absentee by mail published? How?

The county election administrator must keep a list of names of all people who were issued absentee ballots, and they must post this list at the polling place on Election Day.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-13-233 [link]

Presidential-only ballots

Under federal law, any registered voter who moves out of the state after the 30th day before a Presidential election may vote for President and Vice President either in person at the voter’s previous state of residence or using an absentee ballot from the voter’s previous state of residence.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

52 U.S.C. § 10502(e) [link]

Absentee Voting for Military and Overseas Voters

Who is eligible for military/overseas absentee voting?

The following voters are eligible as military voters, so long as they are registered to vote in Montana or have a voting residence in Montana:

  • Members of the active and reserve components of the army, navy, air force, marine corps, or coast guard;
  • Members of the merchant marine, the commissioned corps of the public health service, or the commissioned corps of the national oceanic and atmospheric administration of the United States;
  • Members of the national guard and state militia;
  • The spouse and dependents of an above member

The following voters are eligible as overseas voters:

  • U.S. citizens who live outside of the country but who last lived in Montana before leaving the country, and are registered to vote in Montana
  • U.S. citizens who live outsde of the country but who last lived in Montana before leaving the country (either as a child or as an adult), and other than where they currently live, they are otherwise eligible to vote in Montana
Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-21-102 [link]

How do voters apply for a military/overseas ballot?

A voter can use Montana's Electronic Absentee System to request a ballot online. To access the system, click here.

Alternatively, a voter can apply for an absentee ballot by using an official absentee ballot application, which is available at the county election administrator's office and can be downloaded here; by using a Federal Postcard Application (FPCA); or by sending the county election administrator a written request for an absentee ballot that includes the voter's birthdate and signature (and it is recommended that the voter include the address they would like the absentee ballot mailed to). The voter may submit the application to the county election administrator in person, by mail, or by fax.

At any time, a voter can also request to be mailed an absentee ballot for every future election in which the voter continues to live at their current address.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Sec. of State's Website: Military and Overseas Voters [link]

Mont. Code § 13-13-212 [link]

Mont. Admin. R. § 44.3.2205 [link]

Mont. Admin. R. § 44.3.2203(2) [link]

Deadline to apply for a military/overseas ballot

The application must be received by noon the day before Election Day.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-13-211 [link]

Deadline to return the military/overseas ballot

Ballots returned by mail, fax, or e-mail must be received by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day. Ballots returned electronically through Montana's Electronic Absentee System must be submitted by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day and received by 5:00 p.m. the next day.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Sec. of State's Website: Military and Overseas Voters [link]

Who is eligible to use a write-in absentee ballot? How does it work?

Any military or overseas voter may use a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) to vote in any federal or state election.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Sec. of State's Website: Military and Overseas Voters [link]

On Election Day

Where do you vote in person?

Where do you vote in person?

At the polling place assigned to the precinct where the voter lives.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Stat. § 13-3-105 [link]

What hours are the polls open on Election Day?

What hours are the polls open on Election Day?

Usually 7 a.m. - 8 p.m. However, polling places with less than 400 registered voters must only be open from 12:00 p.m. until 8 p.m.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Stat. § 13-1-106 [link]

In the Voting Booth

Can a voter bring children into the voting booth with them?

State law does not prohibit voters from bringing children into the voting both with them

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Are employers required to give employees time off to vote?

Are employers required to give employees time off to vote?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Workplace Fairness [link]

Campaigning, Electioneering, and Recording Devices

Are there restrictions on campaigning/electioneering during early voting/absentee in-person voting?

Montana law does not distinctly address campainging near in-person absentee voting locations.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Stat. § 13-35-211 [link]

Are there restrictions on campaigning/electioneering on Election Day?

Campaigning is prohibited at a polling place, in a building that includes a polling place, and within 100 feet of the entrance of the building.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Stat. § 13-35-211 [link]

Can a voter wear a button or t-shirt with a candidate's name or logo on it into the polling place when they vote?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Stat. § 13-35-211 [link]

*NEW 1** Can a voter use a digital or recording device (such as a cell phone or camera) inside the polling place or voting booth?

Yes, digital devices are permitted by voters.

However, a voter may not show the contents of their ballot to anyone after it is marked, such as by sharing a picture of their marked ballot.

Source (confirmed on: 10/14/2016)

Mont. Code § 13-35-201(1) [link]

Montana Election Judge Handbook 2016 [link]

*NEW 2** Can a voter use a digital or recording device (such as a cell phone or camera) outside the polling place but within the zone around the polling place where campaigning/electioneering is banned?

State law does not separately address this issue (see previous question.)

Who's at the Polls?

Can persons other than election workers observe inside the polls?

Yes.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Stat. § 13-13-120 [link]

What are observers inside the polls called in the state?

Poll watchers.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Stat. § 13-13-120 [link]

Does the state establish requirements to observe inside the polls?

Each political party has the right to appoint one poll watcher to each precinct. A candidate, a group of candidates, or any group having an interest in the election may request the election administrator to allow additional poll watchers at any precinct. The election administrator must grant such requests if the number of poll watchers at the polling place will not interfere with election procedures.

A candidate on the ballot cannot serve as a poll watcher.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Stat. § 13-13-121 [link]

Mont. Stat. § 13-13-120 [link]

*NEW 3* Can a poll observer use a digital or recording device (such as a cell phone or camera) in the polling place?

State law does not address this issue. Local practices may vary.

Are there other rules on what poll observers can or cannot do?

Poll watchers must be allowed to observe the election process close enough to the poll list that they can hear election judges announce each voter's name as they sign the poll list. Poll watchers have the right to ask the election judge to repeat the voter's name if the pronounciation is unclear. Poll watchers may also observe vote counting procedures and result entries after the polls close. Poll watchers may not intefere with the election process.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Stat. § 13-13-120 [link]

Provisional Voting and Voters at the Wrong Polling Place

When should a voter be offered a provisional ballot?

Under Section 203 of the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002, if a person claims to be a registered voter in the jurisdiction in which the person desires to vote and the person claims to be eligible to vote in a federal election, but the person’s name does not appear on the official list of eligible voters for the polling place or an election official asserts that the person is not eligible to vote, then that person must be permitted to cast a provisional ballot at that polling place. The person may cast the provisional ballot after executing, before an election official at the polling place, a written affirmation stating that the person is (1) a registered voter in the jurisdiction, and (2) eligible to vote in that election.

Additionally, any person who votes in a federal election as a result of a federal or state court order, or any other order extending the time established for closing the polls by a state law in effect 10 days before the date of that election, may only vote in that election by casting a provisional ballot. Any such ballot cast must be separated and held apart from other provisional ballots cast for different reasons.

Under state law, a voter should be offered a provisional ballot in the following circumstances:

  • The voter does not show proper ID when voting at the polls or absentee in person.
  • The voter is challenged when voting at the polls.
  • The voter's name does not appear on the precinct register, and the voter cannot provide information to show that they are eligible to vote.
  • The voter refuses to or cannot sign, offer a fingerprint, make their mark on, or allow an election judge, election administrator, or agent to sign or make a mark for them on the precinct register.
Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-13-301(3)(b) [link]

Mont. Admin. R. § 44.3.2111 [link]

Mont. Code § 13-13-114 [link]

52 U.S.C. § 21082 (federal law) [link]

If a voter casts a provisional ballot at the wrong precinct, will the ballot be counted?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-18)

Interview with Montana Secretary of State's Office [link]

Following up on a provisional ballot

The following voters who cast a provisional ballot must submit additional information to the election administrator for their ballot to count:

  • Voters who cast a provisional ballot because they are provisionally registered must submit valid identification or eligiblity information.
  • If a voter cast a provisional ballot because they did not show proper ID when voting, then the election administrator must compare the signature on the voter's provisional ballot affirmation to the signature on the voter's voter registration card or agent designation form. If the signatures match, the provisional ballot will be counted. If the signatures do not match, the election administrator will count the ballot only if the voter submits proper identification.

Voters must submit the information to the election administrator no later than 5:00 p.m. on the day after Election Day by mail, fax, e-mail, or in person at the election administrator's office. If submitted by mail, it must be postmarked no later than 5:00 p.m. on the day after Election Day and received no later than 3:00 p.m. on the 6th day after Election Day.

For voters who are challenged on the grounds that they are serving a prison sentence for a felony conviction or are of ""unsound mind,"" the provisional ballot will be counted unless the challenger submits documentation by 5 p.m. on the day after Election Day proving that a court has established that the voter is of unsound mind or that the voter has been convicted of a felony, sentenced, and is still serving a sentence in a penal institution.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-15-107 [link]

Finding out if a provisional ballot was counted

The election administrator must inform a voter whether their provisional ballot was counted and, if not, the reasons why not.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-15-107 [link]

Ballot Shortages/Voting Machine Malfunctions

What is the law or procedure on emergency ballots if a polling place runs out of printed ballots? Are handwritten/photocopied ballots allowed?

If a polling place runs out of ballots, the election administrator must deliver additional ballots to the polling place. No ballots other than the official ballots delivered by the election administrator may be used.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-12-212 [link]

What is the law or procedure on emergency ballots if a voting machine breaks or malfunctions?

If a voting machine malfunctions, voters must place their paper ballots into the machine's emergency bin until the machine is repaired or replaced. If a polling place runs out of paper ballots, the election administrator must deliver additional ballots to the polling place. No ballots other than the official ballots delivered by the election administrator may be used.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Montana Election Judge Handbook, p. 27 [link]

Mont. Code § 13-12-212 [link]

Voter ID and Challenges

Voter ID

Who must show ID to vote?

All voters casting a ballot in person, and provisionally registered voters casting an absentee ballot by mail, must show ID when voting.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-13-114 [link]

What ID is acceptable?

Voters must show one of the following forms of ID:

  • A photo ID, such as (but not limited to) a driver's license, student ID, or tribal ID
  • A utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or a government document that shows the voter's name and current address
  • A voter registration confirmation notice
  • A ""Polling Place Elector Identification Form,"" which the voter may fill out at the polling place. This form requires the voter write their name, home address, mailing address, birthdate, and either their driver's license number, their Montana state identification number, or the last four digits of their Social Security number.
Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Admin. R. § 44.3.2110(2) [link]

Mont. Code § 13-13-114 [link]

Mont. Admin. R. § 44.3.2102(9) [link]

Is a student ID an acceptable form of identification?

Yes, so long as it either (1) has a photo of the voter, or (2) has the voter's name and current address.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-13-114 [link]

Does the address on the ID have to match the address at which the voter is registered?

A photo ID does not have to show the voter's current address, but other non-photo documents do. Voters can update their voter registration address at the polls.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-13-114 [link]

If a voter has no ID, are there alternatives such as an oath or witness?

If the voter brings no ID to the polls and the voter refuses to or cannot fill out Polling Place Elector Identification Form at the polls (which will satisfy the ID requirement), the voter may cast a provisional ballot. The ballot will count so long as either (1) the signature on the provisional ballot affirmation matches the signature on the voter's voter registration card or agency designation form, or (2) the voter submits proper ID to the election administrator by mail, fax, e-mail, or personal delivery no later than 5:00 p.m. on the day after Election Day (if mailed, it must be postmarked by 5:00 p.m. the day after Election Day and received no later than 3:00 p.m. on the 6th day after Election Day).

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-15-107 [link]

Mont. Code § 13-13-114 [link]

Do elections without federal offices on the ballot (such as off-year gubernatorial elections) have different ID requirements?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-13-114 [link]

Challenges to Voters at the Polling Place

Who can challenge a voter at the polling place?

Any registered voter may challenge another voter's right to vote.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-13-301 [link]

What are the allowed reasons on which a voter can be challenged at the polling place?

A voter may be challenged on any of the following grounds:

  • The voter is of ""unsound mind,"" as determined by a court;
  • The voter has voted before in that election;
  • The voter has been convicted of a felony and is serving a sentence in a penal institution;
  • The voter is not registered to vote as required by law;
  • The voter is not 18 years of age or older;
  • The voter has not been, for at least 30 days, living in the county in which the voter is attempting to vote;
  • The voter is a provisionally registered voter whose status has not been changed to a legally registered voter; or
  • The voter does not meet any other legal requirement to vote.
Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-13-301 [link]

Is there a requirement for the challenger to provide cause or evidence?

The challenger must sign an affidavit swearing to the grounds of the challenge and may present evidence. If an election administrator determines the challenge is insufficient without any need for further information, the challenge will be dismissed.

Additionally, if the challenger bases the challenge on the voter being ineligible because the voter is of ""unsound mind"" or because the voter has been convicted of a felony and is serving a prison sentence, the challenger must submit documentation to the election administrator by 5 p.m. on the day after Election Day that proves that a court has established that the voter is of unsound mind or that the voter has been convicted of a felony, sentenced, and is still serving a sentence in a penal institution.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-13-301 [link]

Mont. Code § 13-15-107 [link]

How does a voter defend their eligibility to vote if they are challenged?

The challenged voter has the option of signing an affidavit providing evidence of or swearing to their eligibility.

However, unless the challenge is dismissed as inadequate without any need for further information, the voter will be given a provisional ballot to vote. The provisional ballot will count if the voter's eligiblity is determined. The voter may, but is not required to, submit information proving their eligibility to the election administrator by 5:00 p.m. on the day after Election Day (by mail, fax, e-mail, or in person. If mailed, it must be postmarked by 5:00 p.m. on the day after Election Day, and received by 3:00 p.m. on the 6th day after Election Day.)

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-13-301 [link]

Mont. Code § 13-15-107 [link]

State and Local Election Officials

The State Election Authority

Who/what is the state election authority?

Secretary of State

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code 13-1-201 [link]

Current official

Linda McCulloch

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Sec. of State's Website [link]

E-mail

soselections@mt.gov

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Sec. of State's Website [link]

Phone

888-884-VOTE (8683); (406) 444-2034

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Sec. of State's Website [link]

Address

Mailing Address:

Montana Secretary of State

Elections and Government Services

P.O. Box 202801

Helena, MT 59620-2801

Physical Address:

Montana Secretary of State

Elections and Government Services

State Capitol, Room 260

1301 6th Avenue

Helena, MT 59620

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Sec. of State's Website [link]

Local Election Authorities

What local election official(s) are in charge of major state-level elections (such as the even-year November general elections)?

The county's "election administrator." The County Clerk and Recorder serves as the election administrator unless the governing body of the county designates another official as the election administrator.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code 13-1-301 [link]

What is the county-level election official?

The county's "election administrator." The County Clerk and Recorder serves as the election administrator unless the governing body of the county designates another official as the election administrator.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code 13-1-301 [link]

What is the municipal-level election official?

Deputy Election Administrators for local jurisdictions, appointed by the county's election administrator.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code 13-1-301 [link]

Contact information for local election authorities

Click here.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Election Administrators Contact List [link]

The Voter File

Voter File Basics

National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) Disclosure Law

Section 8 of the federal NVRA requires that each State maintain for at least 2 years and make available for public inspection and, where available, photocopying at a reasonable cost, all records concerning the implementation of programs and activities conducted for the purpose of ensuring the accuracy and currency of official lists of eligible voters, except to the extent that such records contain information about a person declining to register to vote or information about the identity of a voter registration agency through which a particular voter might have chosen to register.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

52 U.S.C. § 20507 [link]

Acquiring a Voter File

Under state procedure, who may acquire a voter file?

Any person.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-2-122 [link]

Who is the state-level contact for acquiring a voter file?

About the Service - Montana Interactive, 449-3468 or helpdesk@egovmt.com

Technical Questions - Mark Van Alstyne, Secretary of State IT Manager, 444-4243 or mvanalstyne@mt.gov

General Questions - Secretary of State Elections Division, soselections@mt.gov

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Sec. of State's Website: Statewide Voter File Information [link]

How much does the state charge for the file?

1000

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Sec. of State's Website: Statewide Voter File Information [link]

What format is the file available in?

ASCII delimited text file

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Sec. of State's Website: About the Voter File [link]

Use of the Voter File

Does the state have restrictions on commercial use of the voter file?

Yes, commercial use is prohibited.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-2-122 [link]

Does the state have restrictions on non-commercial use of the voter file?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-01)

Mont. Code § 13-2-122 [link]