Voter Registration: Montana
Registration Deadline: The deadline for regular registration is 30 days before any election. If you miss that deadline, you can still register and vote in the election by late registering at your county election office or designated location. Late registration is available at any time right up through the close of polls on election day, except between noon and 5:00 p.m. the day before the election.
Party Affiliation: There is no party registration in Montana. Individuals who vote in a primary election are given all the parties' ballots, and can choose in private which party ballot they wish to vote. Voters in a primary election cannot vote more than one party's ballots.
VOTER REGISTRATION QUALIFICATIONS
Age: Must be at least 18 years old on or before the next election.
Citizenship: Must be a United States citizen
Residency: Must have lived in Montana for at least 30 days
Mental Competency: Not judged in a court of law to be of unsound mind
Felony Convictions: Not be a convicted felon serving a sentence in a penal institution.
ID requirements for Voter Registration: You must provide your Montana (MT) Driver’s License number or MT Identification (ID) card number when you register. If you do not have a MT Driver’s License or MT ID card, you can provide the last 4 digits of your Social Security number (SSN). If you do not have a MT Driver’s License or MT ID card, or a SSN, attach a copy of photo ID that shows your name, or acceptable ID that shows your name and current address (paycheck stub; utility bill; bank statement; tribal ID; or government document).
The online pre-registration system is a service provided by the Secretary of State to increase the accuracy and currency of voter registration information; and to reduce delays and congestion at the polling place.
Click here to pre-register to vote.
YOU WILL NOT BE A LEGALLY REGISTERED VOTER UNTIL YOU APPEAR AT THE COUNTY ELECTION OFFICE OR LATE REGISTRATION LOCATION AND SIGN THE ELECTRONICALLY SUBMITTED APPLICATION.
OBTAINING A VOTER REGISTRATION FORM
In person: You can register in person at the following locations:
- Your county election office between the hours of 8 a.m and 5 pm
-Fill out and sign a registration form when you apply for or renew your driver’s license or Montana ID.
Click here for more information.
COVID-19 Updated Information: Due to the Governor’s Directive, the deadline for regular registration for the 2020 Federal General Election on November 3, 2020, has been moved to October 26, 2020. If you miss that deadline, you can still register and vote in the election by late registering at your county election office or designated location.
VERIFYING YOUR VOTER REGISTRATION STATUS
ABSENTEE BALLOT QUALIFICATIONS
Who can vote absentee: Any registered voter may vote by absentee ballot.
OBTAINING AN ABSENTEE BALLOT
Applications must be received by the county election office by noon the day before the election. If you drop off the application you will be able to pick up the absentee ballot at the same time.
VOTING BY ABSENTEE BALLOT
After voting the absentee ballot, return in the envelope(s) provided. READ INSTRUCTIONS INCLUDED WITH THE PACKET CAREFULLY.
Be sure to sign the affirmation on the signature envelope before sending back or dropping off. Note: The person to whom the ballot was issued must be the person signing the return envelope.
Track Absentee Ballot for federal/state elections
Montana does not have true early voting, but does have in-person absentee voting that allows electors, as soon as absentee ballots are available, to receive, mark and submit an absentee ballot in person at the election office or by mail to the election office. However, ballots are not counted until election day. Early-in person absentee voting does not require a reason and starts as soon as ballots are available – by not later than 30 days before an election.
MILITARY AND OVERSEAS VOTING
Any of the following are defined as UOCAVA voters:
-Member of the Uniformed Services or Merchant Marine on active duty
-Spouse or dependent of a member of the Uniformed Services or Merchant Marine on active duty
-U.S. citizen residing outside the U.S.
-Other individuals meeting definitions of "absent uniformed services voter" and "overseas voter" in Montana law(13-21-102, MCA)
COLLEGE STUDENT VOTING
If you are a student going to college in another county you can:
*choose to vote in your county of permanent residence, either by going to the polls or by absentee ballot, OR
*register in the county where you are going to college and vote in that county.
*if you are an out-of-state student going to school in Montana, choose to become a resident of Montana if you have resided in Montana for at least 30 days, and vote in the county where you are going to school, OR
*vote in your original state, but you cannot vote in both states.
VOTING ON ELECTION DAY
COVID-19 Update Information for the 2020 General Election only:
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Due to the Governor’s Directive Implementing Executive Orders 2-2020 and 3-2020 and providing for measures to implement the 2020 General election safely, the late registration date for the 2020 General election begins on 10/27/2020 until the close of the election at 8pm on Election day, 11/03/2020. As a result of the Governor’s Directive, some Montana counties have opted in and will be conducting the 2020 General Election as an mail ballot election and some counties will be conducting a polling place election. To determine the status in your county, please contact your county election office.
Normal Voting Procedures:
When voting at the polls, a current photo ID showing the elector’s name; or a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, voter registration confirmation, government check or other government document showing the elector’s current name and current address must be presented.
If you do not have any of the items listed above, you can still vote by requesting and filling out a “Polling Place Elector ID” form. Or, you can vote a provisional ballot. Your provisional ballot will be counted if you provide one of the items on the list to the county election office by 5:00 p.m. the day after the election, or mail it to the county election office postmarked by the day after the election.
If you arrive at the polling place and inform the election officials that you have changed residence but have not updated your voter registration:
*If your name appears on the register at that polling place, you can vote one last time at that polling place, after filling out a voter registration application with your new residence address;
*If your name does not appear on the register at that polling place, in order to vote in the election you must go to the county election office, update your registration information and cast a ballot based on your updated residence address, or go to your old polling place and vote one last time at the old polling place.
If you damage a ballot, make a mistake, or change your mind, take the ballot back to the election judge and request a new one. Do not try to erase or cross out as it may cause a vote to not be counted.
Click here for more information.
Deciding how to vote: https://votesmart.org
Polling Place: online polling place locator
Problems with voting: Montana Secretary of State Elections Complaint Form
Verifying absentee ballot status: absentee ballot status verification