February 6, 2013
CONTACT: Terri McCoy, (406) 444-2807
McCulloch Backs Online Voter Registration in Montana
SB 206 Being Sponsored by Senator Dave Wanzenried
HELENA – Secretary of State and Chief Elections Officer Linda McCulloch wants to allow Montana citizens who possess a valid Montana driver’s license or ID card to apply for voter registration online. McCulloch testified before the Senate State Administration Committee in favor of SB206, which is being sponsored by State Senator David Wanzenried, of Missoula.
“Allowing Montanans to register to vote online will improve the integrity of Montana elections by providing a more convenient, accurate and cost-effective voter registration system,” Secretary McCulloch said. “It will increase transparency and get more Montana citizens registered to vote, which is a clear step in the right direction.”
Eighteen states have passed online voter registration, while an additional nine states are considering similar measures. As the first state to implement online voter registration in 2002, Arizona reports cost savings of nearly $0.80 per online registration. With 70% of all registrations in Arizona now being completed online, election officials are touting online voter registration
“Online voter registration is a fiscally responsible investment,” Senator David Wanzenried (SD49) said. “It will reduce the workload on our Election Administrators while improving access to all elections. It’s time for Montana to bring its elections technology into the 21st Century.”
An online voter registration system would be similar to Montana’s current paper-based system, except that some of the voter registration data would be transferred electronically from the Motor Vehicles Division. This secure and paperless transfer to the county election offices would include the individual’s affirmation that they meet the eligibility requirements to register to vote and the electronic signature they have on file with the MVD. Once the county election office receives the transfer, officials will use Montana’s current system to review and approve the forms that were submitted online.
“Every eligible Montanan shares the fundamental right to register and vote,” Secretary McCulloch said. “Online voter registration supports that right while saving counties a considerable amount of time and money.”