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Voting FAQs

  • Will all registered voters receive a ballot by mail for the November 2023 General Election?
    No! The November 2023 General Election is a municipal election year. Depending on the county, some people will have elections they can vote in and others will not. It may even be different depending on the city or town they live in! While many counties opt to hold mail ballot elections during municipal elections, not ALL of them do. To get more information specific to your county, please contact your county elections office. To check whether you will receive a mail ballot and/or find your polling place, visit the Montana Secretary of State's My Voter Page.
  • What is a mail ballot election?
    For years, many city and school elections have been conducted via mail ballot. The 2020 June Primary Election and 2020 November General Election (most counties, with some exceptions) were also mail ballot elections. In a mail ballot election, all registered active voters in the county receive a ballot in the mail. Polling places are not open, but in-person services (like ballot replacement) are available at the county election office. Registered means that voters have shown the necessary identification and met the qualifications to register to vote in Montana. Active means that they have successfully voted in recent elections. Ballots are only accepted in Montana with proper ID (at polling places) or a matching signature (for mail ballots). So, these voters have already proven their identity. This identity is verified again to cast a ballot in a mail ballot election.
  • What’s the difference between absentee voting and a mail ballot election?
    Montana has both absentee voting and mail ballot elections. There’s very little difference between the two. Absentee ballots allow voters to cast their vote by mail in every election, even when polls are open. More than 70% of Montanans vote absentee. This figure is as high as 90% percent in counties like Yellowstone! Mail ballot elections send mail ballots to ALL registered active voters in the area. Since polling places are closed during mail ballot elections, active voters who normally vote in person at a local school or event center receive their ballot at home.
  • Are mail ballot elections secure?
    Yes! All Montanans want secure elections. That’s why Montana’s election officials have multiple well-refined processes in place to prevent voter fraud from happening - including in mail ballot elections. These procedures confirm voters’ identities and ensure only one ballot is cast per registered voter. Every mail ballot includes one voter’s name and a unique barcode. When a voter returns the ballot, it must include a signature, and that signature MUST match the one on file from your voter registration form. The ballot is NOT processed if there is no signature OR if the signatures do not match. Elections officials will contact the voter and inform them of the issue. The only way for a voter to rectify the issue and have their ballot counted is to show proof of identification to the county election office.
  • I haven't gotten my ballot yet. What should I do?
    If you haven’t received your 2023 General Election (November 7th) ballot by October 27th, log in to the Secretary of State's My Voter Page. Then, you’ll want to check three things: 1. Voting Status: In the section Voter Registration Information, look for the Voting Status line. If it says ACTIVE, move on to check your address. If it says INACTIVE, contact your county’s elections office. You are still registered to vote, but inactive voters are not automatically sent a ballot in counties that opted for a mail-ballot election. You will need to request that your county elections administrator mail you a ballot. 2. Ballot Sent to: In the section Absentee/Mail Ballot Tracking, check the Ballot Sent to line, which will tell you the address your ballot was mailed to. If this line does not list your current mailing address, you may need to update your voter registration. You can update your voter registration up until - and even on - Election Day in Montana. Find more information on registering to vote here. If your ballot was mailed to the correct address, move on to Step 3. 3. Status of Ballot: In the section Absentee/Mail Ballot Tracking, check the Status of Ballot line. If this line says UNDELIVERABLE, your ballot was mailed but returned to your county elections office. Don’t worry, this happens! If you have an undeliverable ballot, you should contact your county elections office to make arrangements to receive your ballot. If you are still unable to access your ballot, please call your county elections office further assistance.
  • Can someone cast two ballots?
    No! Only one ballot is counted per person. There is no way to override the system and accept multiple ballots for the same person. If a person goes to the county elections office to receive a replacement ballot or vote in person, their first ballot is canceled and will not be accepted by the county. If a voter has mailed in their ballot and it was accepted by the county, they will not be able to receive a replacement ballot or vote in person.
  • Can someone use another identity to vote?
    No. Due to signature matching requirements, it is virtually impossible to cast another voter’s ballot. Each mail ballot must be signed, and that signature is matched to the one on file from the voter registration form. If the ballot is not signed, or if the signatures do not match, the ballot is rejected. Ballots signed with fictitious names like Mickey Mouse are not accepted.
  • Can a pet vote?
    No. Pets do not receive Social Security Numbers, driver's licenses or any other form of identification necessary to register to vote. Only registered active voters receive ballots in a mail ballot election, so Fido or Fluffy will not be able to vote.
  • Can someone use a deceased person's identity to vote?
    Election administrators crosscheck their list of registered active voters with a list of deceased individuals. Voters on the list of deceased individuals are NOT mailed a ballot.
  • Can someone cast a ballot that was incorrectly sent to their home?
    Montana law says that the USPS should return incorrectly addressed ballots to the county elections office. If a ballot is not returned, a new resident cannot simply fill out and submit another voter’s ballot. The signature on the ballot MUST match the one on file.
  • What do I need to bring with me to vote in-person?
    If you're voting in person at your county's elections office or at your polling location on Election Day, you'll need to bring a current, vallid form of identification that verifies that you are a qualified elector. Appropriate forms of identification include: Montana driver's license or Montana ID Card United States passport Tribal photo ID card Military photo ID card Concealed carry permit If you don't have any of the above forms of ID, you can bring an alternative form of photo ID that includes your name and picture (i.e. student ID) OR a recent document that includes your name and current address (i.e. a recent pay stub, utility bill, bank statement, or other government document addressed to you). You can find more information on the Montana Secretary of State's website.
  • Can I bring someone with me to help cast my ballot?
    You have the right to get help casting your ballot from anyone you choose, except your employer or union representative. Learn more about your rights as a voter here.
  • I have a disability. Can I vote in-person?
    Yes! You have the right vote at an accessible polling place. Ask your county election official to make sure you are assigned to one. You can find contact information for your county election official here. Learn more about the accessible voting equipment here. If your disability prevents you from entering a polling place, you have the right to vote from your vehicle. A friend or relative may ask an election judge to bring your ballot to your car. If you're vision is impaired, you have the right to a Voter Information Pamphlet printed in large type or recorded on tape. These are available at your local library. If you can't leave your home, you have the right to have a ballot delivered to you. Your county election official or a nursing home staffer can tell you how. This also applies if you suddenly become ill or have a health emergency on Election Day. Before noon on Election Day, you can ask your county election official or a hospital employee to provide you with an absentee ballot. Learn more about your rights as a voter with disabilities here.
  • Does registering to vote put me on the list for jury duty?
    When you get your Montana driver’s license the state registers you for jury duty. If you have your MT driver’s license you are already on the list.
  • What is the last day that I can register to vote?
    You can still register to vote in-person through 8pm on Election Day (November 8, 2022) at your local county elections office.
  • Can I vote if I am a convicted felon?
    As long as you are not behind bars or under house arrest, you can vote in Montana.
  • Can I change my address or my name using the voter registration form?
    Yes. You can update your address (which you need to do even if you move across the street) as well as register under your new name. You even need to update your registration if your signature changes!
  • I'm a student who pays out-of-state tuition. Can I vote in Montana?
    The state has different residency rules than the universities. You only need to be living here 30 days before the election to participate.
  • Can I register using my dorm address?
    Absolutely! Just put your dorm name and room number followed by the city, state and zip. If you want to be sure you will be able to receive election related mail at your campus address, check out this handy guide to campus mailing addresses. If you plan to vote by mail, use the guide to ensure the postal service will be able to deliver your ballot.
  • I go to school in another county. Can I register to receive my ballot from my hometown while I'm attending school?
    Yes! Just put your residence address from the county you want to vote in under "Montana Residence Address" and the address that you would like to receive your mail at under "Mailing Address."
  • I don't have a Montana driver's license. Can I still register to vote?
    Sure! The last 4 digits of your Social Security Number will work too. You can also attach a copy of another form of ID, such as a Tribal ID. When you turn in your voter registration form, attach a copy of a photo ID that shows your name, or acceptable ID that shows your name and current address (recent paycheck stub, utility bill, or bank statement; tribal ID; or a recent government document addressed to you).
  • I'm a student and I'm already registered to vote at home. Can I register at my school address too?
    No. You can only be registered to vote at one address at a time. You can receive a ballot from your home county in the mail, but you will not receive two ballots.
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