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Contact: Terri McCoy, 406-444-2807

Secretary McCulloch Reminds Montanans to Return Absentee Ballots for Primary; Absentee Ballots Due by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day

HELENA – Secretary of State and Chief Elections Officer Linda McCulloch reports that nearly 60,000 Montanans have already voted by absentee ballot in the Primary Election, which will be held in two weeks, on Tuesday, June 5. She reminds voters that all remaining absentee ballots must be received at the county election office by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.

"It's important for every voter to cast a ballot," Secretary McCulloch said. "Counties have issued Absentee Ballot Boxa record number of absentee ballots for a statewide Primary, and I hope to see a record number returned. Montana's elections rely on Montanans, so if you're not an absentee voter, I encourage you to head to the polls and vote on Election Day."

Yellowstone County election offices have so far sent and received the highest number of absentee ballots, with 45,424 absentee ballots issued and 15,027 returned. Gallatin, Missoula, and Cascade round out the top four counties, having each issued roughly 20,000 absentee ballots.

Eleven Montana counties currently have an absentee ballot return-rate above 40%, with Daniels County topping the list at 50% returned. Lewis and Clark County, which is home to the State Capitol, has issued more than 9,000 absentee ballots with an early return-rate of more than 36%.

"I want every Montanan to vote in the way that is right for them," Secretary McCulloch said. "Whether you plan to vote by absentee ballot, or head to the polls on Election Day, there are many tools available to help you securely cast your ballot both privately and independently."

Secretary McCulloch is committed to increasing the transparency of Montana's elections process, and has greatly enhanced the Secretary of State's elections website. Due to her efforts, registered voters can now view a sample ballot online before voting in a statewide federal Primary or General election. Voters can also track the status of their absentee ballot online, print a map to their polling place, view a current list of candidates and elections statistics, and download a digital "I Voted" sticker for their Facebook, Twitter, or blog.

The Secretary of State's website can be accessed at sos.mt.gov. Voters are also encouraged to call the state's toll-free voter hotline with questions at 1-888-884-VOTE (8683).