Voter Registration in Montana
Montana voter registration is required by law in order for residents to participate in elections. The reason behind requiring Montanans to register to vote is to ensure the integrity of the state’s elections on all levels, local, state and federal. In addition to making sure that voters can confirm their identity, the laws preserve the integrity of the ballot by restricting access only to citizens of the United States who legally reside in Montana and meet all other eligibility criteria needed in order to cast a ballot.
Montana permits people to register to vote through a few different means including being able to do so when renewing or obtaining a Montana driver’s license. There are some situations in which residents of Montana may not be permitted to participate in an election. There are also deadlines by which one must register to vote or become ineligible to vote in a particular election. Continue reading the article below to find out more about how the state of Minnesota handles registration for its voting process.
Who can register to vote in Montana?
Voter registration in Montana requires that all potential members of the electorate adhere to specific guidelines as set forth by laws governing elections. The basic criteria to which potential voters must provide proof of satisfying include the following:
- Age – All those seeking to register to vote in Montana must prove that they are aged 18 years old.
- Citizenship – Anyone looking to participate in an election must also prove that they are citizens of the United States.
- Residency – In addition to citizenship, those seeking to cast a ballot in Montana must also prove that they are legal residents of the state.
- Competency – Anyone found mentally incompetent or of unsound mind by a court of law may be disqualified from participating in an election.
- Criminal record – Anyone currently incarcerated on a felony conviction may be prevented from casting a ballot.
- Upon release, your voting rights can be restored to you but you must re-register to vote.
Montana Voter Registration Deadline
You must register to vote in Montana no later than 30 days prior to the election day by 5:00 p.m. You may be able to register late. However, this must be done in person at the county election offices. You can do this anytime during the 30 days prior to the election up until the election except for 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. the day before the election.
How to Register to Vote in Montana
People living in Montana may register to vote either by using the United States Postal Service or by completing their voter registration application procedure in person. If you prefer to complete your application by mail you must make sure you have the following things submitted:
- Completed Montana voter registration application form
- Any of the following items to document your identity and/or resident status:
- Montana driver’s license or state ID card
- Last four digits of your Social Security number
- A photocopy of your ID with a photo and your name
- A document that verifies your address which can include:
- Bank statements
- Utility bills
- Pay stub
You must mail all of this into your local county elections office whose address is provided on the form itself. To register to vote in person you may bring your completed application form to any elections office during their hours of operation. Alternatively, you may also complete your registration at any Montana Motor Vehicle Division office when you either renew or acquire your Montana drivers license.
Early Voting in Montana
Montana permits early voting. You can cast an early ballot using an absentee ballot in person starting as soon as the ballot is available, which is typically 30 days before election day. You may submit an early ballot until the day before the election officially takes place.
Montana Voter Registration for Active Duty Military and Out-Of-State Residents
Voter registration is available for Montana voters serving in the United States Armed Forces or who happen to be living overseas. There are a few options for completing your registration. The first is the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP). Another option is the Electronic Absente System (EAS). Both of these systems will complete your registration to vote and request an absentee ballot at the same time. However, you must request a new absentee ballot every year you are serving in the military or living abroad.
The Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) is another avenue to voter registration should the EAS or FVAP be unavailable to you for some reason. Simply fill out the forms and send them back to your county elections office via mail, email, or fax.
Montana Voter Registration for Absentee Voting
Knowing how to register to vote when you are from Montana but not currently in the state is a subject that applies to many people. Typically there are many college students who fit this category as well as those who work out-of-state for one reason or another.
College students who are from Montana but are attending classes in a county different from the one they came from may either register to vote in the county where they are attending school or in the county where they live permanently. For those students in Montana who come from outside the state, they may choose to vote in Montana or vote in their home state. You may not vote in both locations.
How to Change Your Voter Registration in Montana
If you live in Montana and move you must submit a new voter registration application. This applies to anyone who moves to a new address within their own county or moves to a different county. If you change your name you must also fill out a new application form.