Elections and Government Services Administrative Rules of Montana Business Services Notary and Certification Records and Information Management

October 4, 2012
CONTACT: Terri McCoy, (406) 444-2807

Regular Voter Registration Period Ends Tuesday; Absentee Voting Opens
Voters Must Meet VR Deadline to Vote at Polls, or Receive Absentee Ballot in Mail

HELENA, MT – Secretary of State and Chief Elections Officer Linda McCulloch is reminding Montanans that they must register to vote by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 9 in order to cast a ballot at the polls or receive an absentee ballot in the mail for the 2012 General Election, which will be held on November 6.

October 9 marks the close of Montana’s regular voter registration period. It is also the deadline for counties to mail the first round of absentee ballots to identified absentee voters.

“We’re already seeing a record number of absentee ballot requests,” Secretary McCulloch said. “It’s important for voters to know that they must register to vote by Tuesday in order to receive their absentee ballot in the mail, or cast a ballot at the polls. Campaigns and other groups collecting voter registration applications must also have them turned in by Tuesday. Montanans have an expectation that if they register with a voter registration drive, their application will be submitted in time – the sooner the better.”

Counties are set to mail more than 218,000 absentee ballots to voters on Tuesday, which will reach about 33% of the state’s 662,786 registered voters. That’s a dramatic increase from this time in 2010, when counties mailed approximately 140,800 absentee ballots, reaching 22% of the registered voters in Montana. That number rose to 173,039 Montanans, or 47% of registered voters, voting by absentee ballot in the 2010 General Election.

“If you haven’t registered to vote, you still have time,” Secretary McCulloch said. “In Montana, you can late register and vote at the county election office right up through the close of polls on Election Day.”

Those who register after the close of regular registration must do so in person at the county election office. Late registrants are issued an absentee ballot that must be returned to the county election office by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.

Voters are encouraged to check their registration status using “My Voter Page”, which can be accessed online and in the Apple and Droid App markets. The MVP site also has precinct-specific sample ballots, maps to polling place locations, and an absentee ballot tracking service. Printable voter registration cards and absentee ballot applications can be found online at sos.mt.gov/Elections.