Friday’s Great Falls (MT) Tribune had a great piece on Montana’s slow evolution toward vote-by-mail. There isn’t necessarily a whole lot of news in the piece for someone who follows elections across the nation, but I thought the article was terrific in how well it captured the nature – and pace – of change in elections. Recent headlines have all been about struggles in states where legislatures have made significant and rapid changes to election procedures. As I’ve discussed here in many different posts, such change is a natural offshoot of the different policy views of the parties combined with change in legislative control due to elections.
Montana is a reminder, however, that sometimes change comes more slowly – and, sometimes, independently of legislation. Montana considered mandating a switch to vote by mail in 2011 but the proposal died in the legislature. Nevertheless, many Big Sky State communities are increasingly relying upon vote-by-mail because of the cost savings inherent in not siting and staffing polling places.