County elections experts outline timelines for May 25
April 5, 2017
As efforts to revive Senate Bill 305 failed Friday, Montana’s elections administrators turned their attention to the forthcoming special election on May 25.
SB 305, introduced by Sen. Steve Fitzpatrick (R-Great Falls) would have given Montana counties the option to hold a mail-only election to replace Rep Ryan Zinke. Despite the support of nearly all of Montana’s 56 counties and successful passage through the Montana Senate, SB 305 was tabled in the House Judiciary committee Wednesday. An effort to “blast” the bill out of committee and on to the House floor was unsuccessful Friday afternoon.
Montana counties will now hold a traditional poll election on Thursday, May 25. The state’s elections officials reminded Montana voters of some important deadlines:
• New registrants or voters who have moved or changed their name should complete a new voter registration application -- in person or via the mail -- with their county elections office prior to 5 p.m. April 25.
• Starting April 26, all registration -- for new voters and voters with name or address changes -- must be done in person at local elections offices. During “late registration,” voters will receive a ballot. Late registration closes Wednesday, May 24 at noon.
• Voters who do not have changes to their registration but who would like to receive a ballot in the mail and are not already signed up for an absentee ballot, must complete an absentee ballot request by Wednesday, May 24 at noon.
The elections administrators also clarified that the failure of SB 305 did nothing to affect current absentee voters. They stressed that voters who are on their county’s absentee list -- and typically receive a ballot in the mail -- will still receive a ballot at their mailing address. Ballots go in the mail Monday, May 1. Voters may confirm whether they’re on the list to receive a ballot in the mail at http://www.MyVoterPageMT.com.
Finally, voters who intend to vote at the polls on May 25th are encouraged to contact their local administrator to confirm their polling place. Because of the unusual timing of the special election -- Thursday, proximity to Memorial Day weekend, conflicts with graduations and school programs -- many typical locations are unavailable, so polling places may change or move.