Secretary of State Linda McCulloch again is asking legislators to pass a bill requiring all Montana elections to be conducted by mail, except for school elections. McCulloch, the state’s chief election official, said switching elections to mail ballot would increase voter turnout and save counties $2 million every two years. If it’s approved, Montana would join Colorado, Oregon and Washington as states where citizens vote by mail for most elections. “I feel if every voter could get a ballot in their hands, that would increase those who voted,” she said. “It was true in 2014.” In the November 2014, 88 percent of voters receiving absent ballots cast their votes, while only 36 percent of those who didn’t sign up for absentee voting actually turned out to vote. Rep. Geraldine Custer, R-Forsyth, is sponsoring House Bill 70 for McCulloch, a Democrat.
Custer, who retired in December after 36 years as Rosebud County’s clerk and recorder, said counties are finding it harder to find election workers. “The ones we do have are aging,” she said.
In Yellowstone County, 88 percent of the ballots cast in the November general election were by mail, McCulloch said. “The election officials are all for it,” she said.
The Republican-controlled House killed a similar bill from McCulloch in 2011. It had passed on a preliminary vote, but enough GOP members changed their minds on the final vote to kill it.
Full Article: McCulloch pitches vote-by-mail, other election bills.