January 24, 2012
Contact: Terri McCoy, 406-444-2807
Secretary of State Linda McCulloch To Enhance
Military Voting System With Federal Grant
HELENA – Secretary of State and Chief Elections Officer Linda McCulloch today announced that her office has received a $160,000 federal grant that will make it easier for Montana’s military servicemen and women to participate in state and federal elections.
The Federal Voting Assistance Program awarded Montana the grant to enhance the Secretary of State’s Electronic Absentee System (EAS), which provides uniformed and overseas citizen electors convenient access to the election process when absent from their voting residence.
“Montana’s active military citizens are guaranteed the same voting protections as every other eligible voter,” McCulloch said. “This grant will allow us to enhance our current system so that everyone, whether they are at home or overseas, has the resources to register to vote and cast a ballot.”
Secretary McCulloch launched the Electronic Absentee System in 2010 to allow absent military and overseas electors to seamlessly apply for, receive and mark a statewide General Election ballot. Enhancements to the system being paid for by the grant will include access to a Primary ballot and an auto-fill voter registration card.
“The system is open, convenient and secure,” McCulloch said. “It allows our uniformed citizens to more easily access and vote their ballot, return it to their county election office, and get back to the important job they do for our country.”
Any registered voter may vote by absentee ballot. To vote absentee, fill out an Application for Absentee Ballot or Annual Absentee List Application. The application must be turned in to the county election office by noon the day before Election Day. Applications are available on the Secretary of State’s website at sos.mt.gov.
Last May, the U.S. Department of Defense announced the availability of $16,400,000 in federal funding to support research to advance the electronic options for military and overseas citizens when voting absentee. It later increased the funding level to $20,600,000. U.S. state, territory, and local governments were eligible to apply for the grants. Montana was awarded $160,027.