Montana Secretary of State Linda McCulloch has weighed in on a proposal to move Helena’s mail-sorting operations to Great Falls, expressing concerns about what it could mean for local elections.
In a letter addressed to Montana’s congressional delegation, McCulloch noted that an increasing number of Montanans are choosing to vote using absentee mail ballots, with the number of votes cast that way jumping from 15 percent of the total to 47 percent in the past decade. The shift to mail ballots is expected to continue, meaning the U.S. Postal Service will play a role in elections, McCulloch wrote in the letter.
“Moving Helena’s mail processing operation to Great Falls could delay the delivery of absentee ballots to Helena and Helena-area voters, and delay the return of a voted ballot to the county election office,” she wrote. “Either scenario would diminish voters’ confidence in Montana’s reliable absentee and vote-by-mail process.”
Montana law requires all ballots to be returned to the local election administrator’s office by the end of Election Day, meaning postmark dates are not relevant if the mail doesn’t get there in time, the letter stated.