Voting by Mail: A "How to" Guide
Any registered voter can vote early or by mail. To vote by mail, electors must apply for an absentee ballot. The applications are available from your local election office or you can download an absentee application here. Absentee ballots are available starting 30 days before each federal general and primary elections and 20 days before a municipal or local election, up until noon the day before Election Day.
Electors can deliver their absentee ballot application by mail or in person to the election official, or can have it delivered by a guardian or family member. Third parties - friends, civic groups, candidates, political parties, etc. - can also once again deliver completed absentee ballot request forms to election administrators on behalf of electors. The absentee ballot request form must be signed by the elector, and addressed and delivered or mailed directly to the appropriate election administrator. The election administrator will mail your ballot to you, unless you indicate on the application that you want someone else to pick up the ballot for you. Follow the instructions with the mail ballot. The ballot must be received by theelection office by the time polls close. If you mail your ballot back to the election office, allow sufficient time for the ballot to be received by Election Day. You can also deliver your ballot in person to your county election office or to your polling place by the time polls close on Election Day.
Early voting in Person:
You can also vote early, starting 30 days before the election and ending at noon on the day before the election, at your local election office. This is the fastest way to vote absentee. Visit your local election office Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to complete an absentee ballot application and vote early.
Provisionally registered voters:
If you are a provisionally registered elector (one who did not provide sufficient identification when registering to vote), you must supply an acceptable form of identification when voting by mail (a copy of your MT driver’s license number, if you have one, or the last four digits of your Social Security number, or, if you have neither a MT driver’s license nor a Social Security number, a copy of any photo ID with your name or a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or other government document that shows your name and current address).
Check your registration and absentee ballot status:
You can check your voter registration and absentee ballot status here. You’ll be able to find out if you are registered to vote, where you are registered to vote, the location of your polling place, your House and Senate districts, and, if you voted by absentee ballot, the status of your absentee ballot.
Military and Overseas voters:
Military personnel serving outside the state or Montana residents living overseas may apply for an absentee ballot at any time. Those ballots will be mailed starting 45 days before the federal election. For more information about overseas and military voters, click here.
In case of illness or emergency:
If you request an absentee ballot because of a sudden illness or health emergency occurring between 5 p.m. of the Friday preceding the election and noon on election day, you may ask your county election administrator to have a special absentee election board bring an absentee ballot to you.
Annual Absentee Voting by Mail:
Electors can register with the Secretary of State’s office to regularly receive an absentee ballot for elections. You can ask to be added to the Annual Absentee List when you complete an absentee ballot application or when you fill out the return envelope that comes with your absentee ballot. When you make this request, you can ask to be sent absentee ballots for all elections (including municipal), or for only federal elections. Electors on the Annual Absentee List will be sent a notice in January of each year asking them to confirm the mailing address to which the absentee ballot is to be sent; this form must be signed and returned or ballots will not be sent to the elector and the person will be removed from the Annual Absentee List.