Montana’s legislators might have shot down a move to allow people to do all their voting by mail, but Secretary of State Linda McCulloch is taking steps to make it easier for absentee ballots.
GOP lawmakers led the move to squash a proposal to allow vote-by-mail during the recently completed legislative session. That opposition came despite support from elections officials in every Montana county and successful adoption of vote by mail by other states like Washington a decade ago.
However, the Legislature did agree to have voter registration cards to display an option for people to sign up for the Annual Absentee List. McCulloch has now issued the new enhanced voter registration card, as well as a postcard allowing currently registered voters to permanently switch over to absentee voting.
Last year nearly 180,000 Montanans were on the Annual Absentee List. But legally voters have to send an address confirmation notice every year.
“Absentee voting is a convenient and popular choice for many Montanans,” McCulloch said. “These new registration forms make signing up for the Annual Absentee List easier than ever before.”
Numbers show that 47% of Montana votes were cast by absentee ballot in last November’s General Election, mirroring trends in other states where absentee use climbed to more than 60% before the permanent switch to vote-by-mail for all ballots.