Frequently Asked Questions

Voter Registration

  • How do I register to vote?

    Submit a voter registration application to 316 N Park Ave, Rm. 168, Helena, MT 59623.

  • Am I legally qualified to register to vote in Montana?

    If you meet the following qualifications, you may vote in Montana:

    • 18 or older on or before the next election.
    • A citizen of the United States.
    • A Montana resident for at least 30 days.
    • Registered as required by law.
    • Not currently serving a sentence in a penal institution for a felony conviction.
    • Not judged in a court of law to be of unsound mind.
  • What do I need to register to vote?

    1. A Montana driver's license or state ID number. If you do not have one, you will need to provide the last 4 digits of your Social Security number. If you have neither, you will need to provide another form of ID showing your current name and address (paycheck stub; utility bill; bank statement; or government document).
    2. A Lewis & Clark County residence address or specific geographic information from which your residence location may be determined.
  • How do I change my address?

    Submit a voter registration application to 316 N Park Ave, Rm. 168, Helena, MT 59623.

  • How do I change my name?

    Submit a voter registration application to 316 N Park Ave, Rm. 168, Helena, MT 59623.

  • Where do I vote if I am a college student?

    If you are from Montana and going to college in another county, you can choose to remain a registered voter in your home county and sign up for an absentee ballot if you will not be able to make it to your polling place at home on Election Day. Or, you can register to vote in the county where you attend school.

    If you are from out of state, you may vote absentee from your home state or register to vote in Montana, but you cannot vote in both states.

  • I live in a different location at different times of the year. How do I register to vote?

    If you reside in different locations at different times of the year, you may register to vote under either address, but not both at the same time. For example, if you reside in Helena October through April, but move to a cabin in Flathead County for May through September, you may register to vote in either Lewis & Clark or Flathead County, but not both.

    On Election Day, you will need to go to your polling place in the county in which you are registered to vote. If you sign up as an absentee voter, you may designate different mailing addresses for different parts of the year.

Absentee/Mail Ballots

  • I will be out of town for the next election, how do I sign up for an absentee ballot?

    Submit an application for an absentee ballot to 316 N Park Ave, Rm. 168, Helena, MT 59623. You may request an absentee ballot for a specific upcoming election, or request that a ballot be mailed to you for all elections.

  • Do I have to specify a reason to vote absentee or by mail?

    No. Anyone registered to vote in Montana may sign up to receive ballots in the mail without specifying a reason.

  • I was mailed a ballot for one election, but not the next. What happened?

    Some elections are conducted entirely by mail, meaning electors are mailed a ballot regardless of whether or not they have signed up to receive ballots in the mail.

    In polling place elections, such as the Federal Primary and General Elections, ballots are only mailed to those that have signed up for the absentee list or have requested an absentee ballot specifically for that election.

    Some people think that because they have signed up to receive absentee ballots in the past, they will always receive a ballot in the mail; however, the absentee list is not a permanent list. It expires in January of every even-numbered year. At the time of expiration, our office sends a letter to everyone on the absentee list asking if they would like to remain on the list for the next two years. If we do not receive confirmation from an individual, they will not receive their Federal Primary or General election ballots in the mail.

    Visit My Voter Page to find out whether or not you are currently signed up for absentee ballots.

  • How do I sign up to receive my ballots in mail?

    Submit an application for absentee ballot to 316 N Park Ave, Rm. 168, Helena, MT 59623. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is 12noon the day before the Election.

  • What is the absentee list?

    An elector may request to be mailed an absentee ballot for all elections in which they are eligible to vote as long as they remain qualified to vote at the residence address provided in the application.

    The absentee list expires in January of even-numbered years. At that time, our office will send a forwardable confirmation form to everyone on the absentee list. If you return the confirmation letter, you will remain on the absentee list for the next two years.

  • Am I on the absentee list?

    Visit My Voter Page or contact us to find out whether or not you are signed up for absentee ballots.

  • When will I get my absentee ballot?

    Absentee ballots are mailed out 25 days before a Primary or General Election. In mail ballot elections, ballots are mailed out between 15 and 20 days before the election. If you do not receive your absentee ballot, contact the elections office.

  • When is my absentee ballot due?

    Absentee ballots must be received by 8pm on Election Day. Sorry, but we cannot accept ballots that are postmarked by that time.

  • Where do I return my absentee ballot?

    Return your ballot to the election office, 316 N Park Ave, Rm. 168, Helena, MT 59623 by mail or in person. For a polling place election, you may also drop your absentee ballot off at any polling place in the county on Election Day.

    However you return your absentee ballot, be sure it is received by 8pm on Election Day.

  • My ballot was destroyed, lost, or not received, what can I do?

  • I received an absentee ballot, but I would like to vote at the polls, may I?

    We prefer that you vote your absentee ballot if you requested one. If you do go to the polls, the Election Judge will issue you a provisional ballot. Your provisional ballot will be accepted and counted once we verify that you did not vote your absentee ballot. Some provisional ballots can be resolved and counted on Election Day, but most are resolved afterwards and counted on the Monday following the Election. Accepted provisional ballots are a part of the official election results.

    If you are on the absentee list but no longer wish to vote absentee, send us a signed request to remove you from the absentee list.

  • Are absentee ballots only counted in close elections?

    No. All absentee ballots that are accepted by the deadline are counted in an election.

  • Can I request an absentee ballot for my relative or friend?

    A request for an absentee ballot must be signed by the elector requesting the ballot.

    If you hold a power of attorney from an absent uniformed-service voter, you may apply for an absentee ballot on behalf of the uniformed services elector by providing a copy of the power of attorney authorizing the request for an absentee ballot.

  • Can I pick up someone else's absentee ballot?

    Yes, provided the elector has designated you to pick up their ballot on their application for absentee ballot.

  • I've had a health emergency, how can I vote?

    If your health emergency occurs before 5pm on the Friday before the election, submit an absentee ballot request form to our office. We will mail out your ballot the day we receive your request. You could also have a friend or relative drop off your request, and if you designate them to pick up your ballot, we will give it to them when they bring in your request. (The request must still be signed by you.)

    If your heath emergency occurs after 5pm on the Friday before the election, contact us and we can arrange for a special absentee election board to bring an absentee ballot to you.

Military/Overseas Citizen Voting

  • I am on active duty; how can I vote?

    The best way to vote is to register as a UOCAVA voter with the Federal Post Card Application.

    Registering this way allows you to:

    • Request your absentee ballot be sent to you by email, fax or regular mail.
    • Receive your ballot early - absentee ballots are mailed 45 days before an election to UOCAVA voters. (All other absentee ballots are mailed 20-25 days before an election.)
    • Access and mark your absentee ballot online with Montana's Electronic Absentee System.
    • Return your absentee ballot by email, fax or regular mail.
  • I will be residing out of the country for the next election; can I still vote?

    Yes, you are eligible to vote under the last address at which you resided in the United States according to the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA).

    As a voter covered under UOCAVA, you are eligible to:

    • Request your absentee ballot be sent to you by email, fax or regular mail.
    • Receive your ballot early - absentee ballots are mailed 45 days before an election to UOCAVA voters. (All other absentee ballots are mailed 20-25 days before an election.)
    • Access and mark your absentee ballot online with Montana's Electronic Absentee System.
    • Return your absentee ballot by email, fax or regular mail.

    To let us know you are a UOCAVA voter, register and request your absentee ballot with the Federal Post Card Application.

  • What is the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absente Voting Act (UOCAVA)?

    The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) grants special provisions to military and overseas citizens to make it easier for them to register to vote, request absentee ballots, and return and track those ballots.

    UOCAVA voters include:

    • Members of the Uniformed Services or Merchant Marine on active duty
    • Spouses or depedents of members of the Uniformed Services or Merchant Marine on active duty
    • U.S. citizens residing outside of the U.S.

Accessibility

Other Elections Questions

  • How do I vote?

    First, you must register to vote. You may choose to receive your ballot in the mail, by checking the applicable box on the voter registration card, or you may choose to vote at your polling place. (If you choose to vote at the polls, you can still request an absentee ballot up until noon the day before any election.)

    If you vote at your polling place, you will need to bring a photo ID. If you do not have one, you can provide a paycheck stub, utility bill, bank statement, or other government document with your name and address. If neither of those options are available, you may provide the election judge with your Montana State ID or Driver's License number or the last four digits of your social security number. Or, you can vote a provisional ballot. Your provisional ballot will be counted if you provide one of the listed IDs to our office by 5pm the day after the election (copies of ID mailed to our office with a postmark before the deadline also accepted).

  • What IDs are needed to vote?

    What IDs are needed to vote?

    You do not need to present ID when you register to vote, but you do need to provide A Montana driver's license or state ID number on your registration application. If you do not have one, you may register with the last 4 digits of your Social Security number. If you have neither, you will need to provide another form of ID showing your current name and address (paycheck stub; utility bill; bank statement; or government document).

    To vote at the polls, you will need to present a photo ID or other form of ID showing your current name and address such as those listed above. If you cannot provide ID at the polls, you may give the judge your Montana State ID/Driver's License number or the last four digits of your social security number. Once the election judge confirms the number with our office, they will provide you with a ballot. Or, you can vote a provisional ballot. Your provisional ballot will be counted if you provide one of the listed IDs to our office by 5pm the day after the election (copies of ID mailed to our office with a postmark before the deadline also accepted).

  • Can I "early vote"?

    Though we do not have “early voting,” you can receive, mark and submit an absentee ballot in person at the election office starting 30 days before a federal election and 20 days before most other types of elections. Ballots are not counted until election day.

  • Where is my polling place?

    Locate your polling place with My Voter Page or our list of polling places. Still can’t find it? Contact us.

  • What is a provisional ballot?

    Provisional ballots are issued on election day at the polls and at the election office for a variety of reasons. They are usually given to voters when there is an issue that must be resolved before their ballot can be counted. For example, if the voter was sent an absentee ballot and goes to the polling place to vote, they will be given a provisional ballot at the polls. This allows us to verify that the elector did not already vote the absentee ballot before we accept the provisional ballot issued at the polls.

    The elector has until 5pm the day after the election to resolve their provisional ballot. As another example, if the voter could not provide identification at the polls, they would be issued a provisional ballot. If that voter brings in an ID to our office the following day, or postmarks a copy of the ID to us, we can resolve and accept their provisional ballot.

    Provisional ballots that have been accepted are counted after 3pm on the Monday following the election. All voters who are issued a provisional ballot receive a letter stating the reason why their ballot was accepted or rejected.

  • What is an "inactive voter"?

    An inactive voter is someone who has not exercised their right to vote in a Federal Election and has not responded to mailings from our office.

    Inactive voters are still registered voters and can vote in a polling place election by going to the polls to vote, or by requesting an absentee ballot.

    In a mail ballot election, inactive voters will not be sent a ballot. They may reactivate their status and receive a mail ballot by sending us a voter registration card or absentee ballot request.

    For more information, view the Secretary of State's Office "Important Information Regarding the Inactive Voter Registration List." Not sure whether you are an active or inactive voter? Check My Voter Page or contact us.

  • Where can I view election results?

    Some Lewis & Clark election results are available on our website. Contact us if you do not see the results you are looking for.

    For statewide election results and statistics, visit the Secretary of State’s website.

  • How can I purchase voter records?

    Our office provides extracts of the public information contained in our database of registered voters for noncommercial use only. Submit your request for files with the Voter File Request form.

    Statewide voter file information may also be purchased from the Secretary of State’s office.