Montana

Upcoming Elections

Oct. 26, 2020 – Voter Registration Deadline

 Montana also has late registration from October 27 – November 3, 2020 (the day after the close of regular registration until 8:00 p.m. on Election Day) which must be done at the county election official’s office or designated location.

Nov. 2, 2020 – Late Registration – In Person

Late registration is available from October 27 – November 3, 2020 (the day after the close of regular registration until 8:00 p.m. on Election Day) which must be done at the county election official’s office or designated location.

PLEASE NOTE:  Late registration closes temporarily from noon until 5:00 p.m. on the day before Election Day, and reopens on Election Day.  Registration cards can be dropped off during this time, though voters must return to the office on Election Day in order to receive a ballot.

Voting in Montana

When You Can Vote

Election Day

Poll hours of operation vary.  Most polling places open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.  Polling places with fewer than 400 registered voters may open from noon to the earlier of 8:00 p.m. or until all registered voters in the precinct have voted.  Contact your local elections official for exact times.

Where You Can Vote

How to Find Your Polling Place:

Visit the Secretary of State’s My Vote Tool to find your polling place. 

Your voter registration card lists the location of your neighborhood polling place.  If you’ve misplaced your card, call your local elections office to find out where to vote.

Registering to Vote

Regular registration closes on October 26, 2019 for the 2020 General Election.  However, Montana also has late registration from October 27 – November 3, 2020 for the 2020 General Election, which must be done at the county election official’s office or a designated location.  For late registration, you must show up at your local elections office during business hours up to and including Election Day and fill out a voter registration card.

The 2020 Election Calendar can be found here.

PLEASE NOTE:  Late registration closes temporarily at noon the day before Election Day, and reopens again on Election Day.  Registration cards can be dropped off during this time, though voters must return to the office on Election Day in order to receive a ballot.

How to Check Your Registration:  Visit the Montana Secretary of State’s “My Voter Page” website or call 1-866-OUR-VOTE.

Registration Eligibility:  To be eligible to register to vote in Montana, you must:

  • Be a U.S. Citizen;
  • Be 18 years or older on or before the next election; and
  • Have lived in Montana for at least 30 days.

How to Register

You can register to vote by:

  • Visiting your local elections office and filling out a form during business hours;
  • Filling out a voter registration form and mailing it or dropping it off at your local elections office; or
  • Filling out a form when you apply for or renew your driver’s license or Montana ID.

Identification Required for Registration: 

When filling out your registration form, you must provide a Montana driver’s license or Montana ID number.  If you do not have either, you must provide the last four digits of your Social Security number.

If you do not have a Montana driver’s license, Montana ID Card, or Social Security number, provide (in-person) or enclose (by mail) a copy of one of the following, showing both your name and current address (except that your photo ID needs only to show your name):

  • Any photo ID showing your name;
  • A current utility bill;
  • Bank statement;
  • Paycheck;
  • Government check; or
  • Other government document that shows your name and current address.
Voting Early & by Absentee Ballot

If You Want to Vote Early:

Montana does not have traditional early voting, but you can cast an in-person absentee ballot starting no later than 30 days before Election Day and 25 days prior to Election Day for mailing ballots.  You can find more information about absentee voting below.

If You Want to Vote Absentee:

If you are a registered voter in Montana, you may also vote by absentee ballot, even if you are able to vote in person on Election Day.  No reason is required to vote absentee.

To vote absentee, you may complete the Annual Absentee List Application.  Once on this list, the ballots for all elections for which you are eligible will be automatically mailed to you.  To remain on the list, you must complete and return an annual confirmation notice mailed to you by your local elections office.  

[To vote absentee without being added to the annual absentee list, you may instead submit an Application for an Absentee Ballot .

Applications for an absentee ballot must be RECEIVED (postmark does not count) at the local county election office by noon on the day before Election Day.  You may pick up an application at your local election office or at the Secretary of State’s Office, or you may call either office and ask to have an application mailed to you.  You may also download a free application.  Mail the application or drop it off at your local election office.  Once you’ve submitted your application, your absentee ballot will be mailed to you, unless you put on the application that you would prefer to have someone pick it up for you.

Once you’ve marked your ballot and signed the affirmation on the signature envelope, return it to your county elections office before the polls close on Election Day in the secrecy envelope that is provided. The ballot must be RECEIVED by the county elections office by 8:00 pm on Election Day (postmark does not count).

You may track the status of your absentee ballot at the Montana Secretary of State’s “My Voter Page” website.

Identification Requirements

Identification Requirements to Cast a Ballot:

You must present ID when voting.  When you enter your polling place, an election judge will greet you, ask your name, and confirm that you are registered to vote in that precinct.  The election judge will then ask you to show ID.  This can be any current photo ID that shows your name (for example, a valid driver’s license, school ID, state ID, or tribal ID) or a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, voter confirmation notice, government check or other government document that shows your name and current address.

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.

Alternatively, 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 elections office by 5:00 p.m. the day after Election Day, or mail it to the county elections office postmarked by the day after Election Day.

If You Have Moved Within Your State

Moving within the Same County:

You are entitled to cast a regular vote at the polling place, an absentee ballot, or a mail ballot in the precinct where you are registered.  However, you may only do this for the first election after your move.  Furthermore, you must state your new address when offering to vote, and must complete a transfer form or new registration form to make the necessary correction before being allowed to vote in a polling place election.

Moving Between Counties:

You must re-register in your new county of residence in order to vote.  However, if you have moved to a different county 30 days or less before an election you may (i) vote in person or by absentee ballot in the precinct and county where previously registered; or (ii) update the elector’s registration information and vote in your new county of residence.

If You are in the Military or are an Overseas Voter

Registering and Requesting an Absentee Ballot:

Registering to vote and requesting absentee ballots in Montana is easy for absent active duty military and overseas electors.  You can register and vote using the Secretary of State’s Electronic Absentee System (EAS) by going here.  Effective October 1, 2019, military and overseas voters can use digital signature (issued by the U.S. Department of Defense) for a federal postcard application, an application for voter registration, a request for an absentee ballot or the voter’s marked ballot.

Within 45 days of a Federal Primary or Federal General election, absent active duty military and overseas electors can visit the Secretary of State’s Electronic Absentee Service (EAS) here, fill out the Federal Post Card Application online, save it and return it via mail, email or fax to the county election office.

If not using the Electronic Absentee System, the best form to use to register is the Federal Post Card Application.  This form is used both for voter registration and to request absentee ballots for all the state and local elections through the calendar year following the year in which it is requested. 

You can submit it by doing the following:

  • Print a Federal Post Card Application form, fill it out and mail it to the local election office; or
  • Before you leave for active duty or move overseas, visit your local election office on weekdays between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. and complete and submit a Federal Post Card Application form.

Another source of information is the Federal Voting Assistance Program (https://www.fvap.gov/), which has forms and tips on registration and voting, including information about options for voting by facsimile and through the Internet.  You can also reach the FVAP at 1-800-438-VOTE (8683).

Receiving an Absentee Ballot:

 

Within 45 days of the General Election, absent active duty military and overseas electors can visit the Secretary of State’s Electronic Absentee Service (EAS) here, fill out the Federal Post Card Application online, save it and return it via mail, email or fax to the county election office.

 

In relation to the General Election the returned ballot must be received by 8 p.m. on November 3, 2020..

 

Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot:

 

If you requested your absentee ballot and haven’t received it from your State at least 30 days before Election Day, you can use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB).  The FWAB is an emergency backup ballot.  This backup ballot can be completed using the FWAB online assistant , by filling out the PDF  or picking up a hard copy version from your Voting Assistance Officer.  The online assistant will guide you through the process of completing the form.  Once you complete the form, you will be able to download and print the PDF package to sign and send to your election office.  This PDF package even includes a pre-addressed and postage paid label so you don’t have to worry about finding stamps! Don’t forget a security envelope.  (Use a separate blank envelope and write “Security Envelope” on it and place your voted ballot in it.  This keeps your vote private.)

If You Have a Felony Conviction

You cannot vote if you’re a convicted felon serving a sentence in a penal institution.  Formerly convicted felons who have been released from the penal institution, but are serving parole or probation are able to register and vote.  If your registration is cancelled due to a felony conviction, you must re-register upon your release in order to vote.

Election Protection Materials

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