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

October 22, 2012
CONTACT: Terri McCoy, (406) 444-2807

Secretary McCulloch Reminds Montanans to Return Absentee Ballots;
Says Voters Should Be Mindful of Mail Times When Considering Return Method

HELENA, MT – Secretary of State and Chief Elections Officer Linda McCulloch says nearly 87,400 Montanans have already voted by absentee ballot in the General Election. All remaining absentee ballots must be received at the county election office by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day, which will be held on Tuesday, November 6.

“If you plan on returning your absentee ballot through the mail, make sure you leave plenty of time for your ballot to reach the county election office by Election Day,” Secretary McCulloch said. “The mail may take longer than you think, and postmarks are not accepted. If you aren’t ready to vote your ballot, take your time but plan on returning your ballot in person to meet the deadline.”

Voters can track the status of their absentee ballot online with “My Voter Page” to see when their ballot was mailed and when it was received back in the county election office. Those who plan to vote at the polls can use the service to access a precinct-specific sample ballot and directions to their polling place. “My Voter Page” is also available as a mobile app in the Apple and Droid markets.

“It’s important for every voter to cast a ballot,” Secretary McCulloch said. “Whether you plan to vote an absentee ballot, or vote at the polls, there are tools available to help you cast your ballot both privately and securely. If you still need to register to vote, you must visit your county election office in person in order to register and be issued a ballot.”

Montana’s late voter registration period runs from October 10 through November 6. Late registration must be done in person at the county election office (or designated location). Late registrants will receive an absentee ballot, which can be voted at the election office or taken home and returned by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day. Absentee ballots are not issued between noon and 5:00 p.m. on the day before the election.

Postage for absentee ballots is clearly marked on the instructions accompanying the ballot packet. Most county ballots require more than one standard stamp. Absentee ballots will not be rejected or returned to the voter by the USPS due to inadequate postage.

As of October 22, counties have issued a record 272,883 absentee ballots. Voters have returned 87,395 of those ballots, which is about 32% of the total ballots issued. Montanans can track absentee numbers on the Secretary of State’s website at sos.mt.gov/Elections.

Montana’s toll-free voter hotline: 1-888-884-VOTE (8683).