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Montana Voting Quick Facts

Who Can Register to vote in Montana

Regular voter registration closes at 5 p.m. thirty days before election day for most elections. Individuals can late-register at the county election office beginning 29 days before election day and through close of polls on election day. Note: late registration is not available for certain school district elections.

Late Voter Registration

Late register for most elections at the county election office or the designated location beginning 29 days before election day, and through 8 p.m. on election day.

To vote in Montana, you must:

  • 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.

You cannot vote in Montana if:

  • You're a convicted felon serving a sentence in a penal institution.
  • You've been judged in a court of law to be of unsound mind.

Learn more about Who Can Register To Vote In Montana?

How Do I Register To Vote in Montana

Voting At The Polls On Election Day

WHAT IS AN ACCEPTABLE FORM OF IDENTIFICATION FOR VOTING

Your voter registration confirmation card lists the location of your polling place. If you've misplaced your card, call your local election administrator to find out where to vote or check your polling place location on-line at My Voter Page.

If you're unable to drive to the polls yourself, contact your county election office for options for voting including voting by absentee ballot, or getting a ride from a community service organization that may be providing transportation in your community.

The Polling Place

Before you will be permitted to receive a ballot, you will need to present a current ID. If you do not have a photo ID, you can provide 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.
  • Or, you can vote a provisional ballot and provide one of the items listed above. 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.

If you arrive at the polling place and inform the election officials that you have changed residence but have not updated your voter registration:

  • If your name appears on the register at that polling place, you can vote one last time at that polling place, after filling out a voter registration application with your new residence address;
  • If your name does not appear on the register at that polling place, in order to vote in the election you must go to the county election office, update your registration information and cast a ballot based on your updated residence address, or go to your old polling place and vote one last time at the old polling place.

Once you have presented ID, an election judge will have you sign the precinct register.

An election judge will give you your ballot(s), and explain how to mark it and what to do with it once you have voted.

Each polling place has a voting machine accessible to people with disabilities that allows them to vote independently and privately. If you wish to use this machine, known as an AutoMARK, let the election judge know.

You will enter a private voting booth or station. Instructions on marking your ballot are posted in the booth or station, and are on the ballot.

You do not have to vote on every issue on the ballot. However, if you vote more than once on a candidate or on an issue with only one choice allowable, the vote(s) in that race will not be counted.

Turn the ballot over to see if there are candidates or issues on which to vote on the back of the ballot.

If you damage a ballot, make a mistake, or change your mind, take the ballot back to the election judge and request a new one. Do not try to erase or cross out as it may cause a vote to not be counted.

Do not make any identifying marks anywhere on the ballot - doing so will invalidate your ballot.

When you have finished voting, follow the instructions given to you by the election judge. Hand the voted ballot to the appropriate election judge or place it in the voting system if one is provided. Never hand your ballot to anyone besides an election judge.

Learn more about Voting at the Polls on Election Day

Who Can Vote in Primary Elections in Montana

Both Democrats and Republicans hold Open Primaries

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.

Click here for additional information

Who Can Vote Absentee in Montana

Any registered voter may vote by absentee ballot.

Absentee ballots are mailed to eligible voters 25 days before election day.

To vote absentee:

  • Fill out an Application for Absentee Ballot/Absentee List.
  • 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 absentee voting instructions here.
  • 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.

Absentee turnout from 2000 through the present is available.

For more information about voting, call your local election office or call the Secretary of State’s toll-free voter hotline: 1-888-884-VOTE (8683).

Learn more about Absentee Voting

What If My Address Has Changed

If you are a student going to college in another county you can

  • choose to vote in your county of permanent residence, either by going to the polls or by absentee ballot, OR
  • register in the county where you are going to college and vote in that county.
  • if you are an out-of-state student going to school in Montana, choose to become a resident of Montana if you have resided in Montana for at least 30 days, and vote in the county where you are going to school, OR
  • vote in your original state, but you cannot vote in both states.

Moving

  • If you move and become a resident of another Montana county, you must re-register in that county.

Learn more about Movers/college students Voting

Have A Question?

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When Is The Next Election?

Upcoming Elections Calendar - Election dates and deadlines - Check Montana upcoming elections schedule

Poll Hours: 7:00 AM-8:00 PM

The 2016 federal general election will be held on November 8, 2016. Presidential elections are combined with the congressional, statewide, state district, and county elections.

How can I find my polling location?

If you do not know where your polling place is,you can use sos.mt.gov to locate your polling place. If you have any issues or questions, please contact your County Clerk

Can I Register At The Polls On Election Day?

MONTANA : Yes

You can register in person at the election administrator's office anytime before the election; however, any voter who registers after noon on the day before or on Election Day must appear at the county election office in order to vote.

Can I Take Time Off For Voting?

Time off to vote is subject to the employer. Montana state law does not require employers to grant time off to vote for employees.

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