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Efforts to get out the vote appear to be paying off in Montana

Rina Moore
Posted at 4:43 PM, Sep 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-23 12:42:15-04

GREAT FALLS — From social media alerts to Google's doodle on Tuesday to good old-fashioned snail mail, a massive effort is underway nationwide to get people to register to vote and based on some voter registration numbers here in Montana, the effort appears to be paying off.

"In 2016, we had about 39,800 and we're up to almost 49,600 right now,” Cascade County Clerk & Recorder Rina Moore said Tuesday.

She expects that number to continue to increase with a little over a month still to go before Election Day. "Given the political environment, no, that doesn't surprise me at all,” said Moore.

Speaking of the political environment, it's creating a bit of a headache for offices statewide.

"There are some mailings out there by the different political parties that are confusing our voters,” Moore explained. "We have a big job to do and to continue to answer the phones and go through the mailings that people are sending in that are unnecessary, it just adds an extra burden."

Elsewhere across Montana, on Tuesday Fergus County had about 500 more registered voters than 2016 and Glacier County had about 6,500 registered voters.

In 2016, fewer than 4,000 ballots went out in Glacier County, meaning in theory there could be at least nearly twice as many people voting in 2020 than in 2016.

The Little Shell Tribe in Great Falls is also seeing a good response to efforts to get members registered to vote.

"It's vital that they do vote. Their vote does count. If you look at a lot of the past elections, the native vote in Montana was basically the deciding or the swing vote,” said Tribal Chairman Gerald Gray.

An important message for what is sure to be a very important election.

  • Key Dates and Deadlines

    • Friday, October 2: Early voting begins at 7:00 a.m.
    • Monday, October 26: Close of registration
    • Tuesday, October 27: Late registration begins. This means that a person must come into the office in person. Prior to this, we will accept registration applications through the mail.
    • All ballots must be received by 8:00 pm on Tuesday, November 3.
    • Currently Montana does not accept a post mark; ballots must be in the office by 8:00 pm on election day.

    Register to Vote

    Register to vote or check your registration status.

    Absentee/Mail-In Voting

    1. Request an absentee ballot. Print it out, sign it and mail the request form back to your county board of elections.
    2. Receive your ballot in the mail.
    3. Fill your ballot out. You can mail it back or deliver it in person to your local county elections board.

  • Early In-Person Voting

    Any eligible voter can also vote early in-person at their county board of elections, starting on the day after voter registration closes.

    In-person Voting

    Polls are open until 8 p.m. on Tuesday, November 3. You need to bring ID. If you don't, you can request a provisional ballot. (ID rules may vary for absentee ballots and first-time voters.)

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What assistance is there for voters with disabilities? Montana’s Statewide Elections have various options for voters with disabilities or voters who need special assistance; click here for details.

    What are my voting options if I'm a member of the armed forces or overseas? Click here to learn how to vote if you are a member of the armed forces or are otherwise overseas.