To vote in Montana, you must:
- Be registered as required by law.
- Be 18 years old or older on or before the next election.
- Be a citizen of the United States.
- Have lived in Montana for at least 30 days.
Even if you meet the above eligibility qualifications, you cannot vote if:
- You’re a convicted felon serving a sentence in a penal institution.
- You’ve been judged in a court of law to be of unsound mind.
There are several ways to register to vote in Montana.
Note: Regular registration closes 30 days before the election, however, you can still register and vote in the election by late registration at your county election office or designated location until noon the day prior to the election.
- Visit your county election office Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. and complete a registration form. Late registration closes at noon on the day before an election.
- Fill out and sign a voter registration application and drop it off at your county election office, or mail it to the county election administrator. ID numbers provided on the voter registration card are kept confidential and are not available for public inspection.
- Fill out and sign a registration form when you apply for or renew your driver’s license or Montana ID.
- Please find a list of identification options for registering to vote in Montana by clicking here.
- You will need to provide a residence address or specific geographic location information from which your residence address may be determined. The residence address must be in the county in which you are registering.
- Once you are registered, you will receive a voter confirmation card from the county election office that contains the precinct and polling place for your residence.
- If you are a student going to college in another county, you can:
- choose to vote in your county of permanent residence, either by going to the polls or by absentee ballot, OR
- register in the county where you are going to college and vote in that county.
- If you are an out-of-state student going to school in Montana, you can.
- choose to become a resident of Montana if you have resided in Montana for at least 30 days, and vote in the county where you are going to school, OR
- vote in your original state, but you cannot vote in both states.
Be sure to keep your voter registration current by filling out a new form if your name or address changes. You can check to see the most current information on file at My Voter Page. If you move and become a resident of another Montana county, you must re-register in that county.
Canceling your voter registration:
To cancel your voter registration, submit a written request to your county elections office.
Your voter registration confirmation card lists the location of your polling place. If you’ve misplaced your card, call your local election administrator to find out where to vote or, for federal/state elections, check your polling place location on-line at My Voter Page.
If you’re unable to drive to the polls yourself, contact your county election office for options for voting including voting by absentee ballot, or getting a ride from a community service organization that may be providing transportation in your community.
The Polling Place
- Before you will be permitted to receive a ballot, you will need to present to an election judge one of the following forms of identification showing the elector’s name: a Montana driver’s license, Montana state identification card pursuant to 61-12-501, military identification card, tribal photo identification card, United States passport, or Montana concealed carry permit.
- If you do not have the above forms of identification, you can provide a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check or other government document that shows your name and current address and photo identification that shows the elector’s name, including, but not limited to, a school district or postsecondary education photo identification.
- If you do not have any of the items listed above, you can still vote by requesting and filling out a “Polling Place Elector ID” form.
- Or, you can vote a provisional ballot and provide one of the items listed above. Your provisional ballot will be counted if you provide one of the items on the list to the county election office by 5:00 p.m. the day after the election, or mail it to the county election office postmarked by the day after the election.
- If you arrive at the polling place and inform the election officials that you have changed residence but have not updated your voter registration:
- If your name appears on the register at that polling place, you can vote one last time at that polling place, after filling out a voter registration application with your new residence address;
- If your name does not appear on the register at that polling place, in order to vote in the election you must go to the county election office, update your registration information and cast a ballot based on your updated residence address, or go to your old polling place and vote one last time at the old polling place.
- Once you have presented ID, an election judge will have you sign the precinct register.
- An election judge will give you your ballot(s), and explain how to mark it and what to do with it once you have voted.
- Each polling place has a voting machine accessible to people with disabilities that allows them to vote independently and privately. If you wish to use a voting machine, either an AutoMARK™ or ExpressVote®, let the election judge know.
- You will enter a private voting booth or station. Instructions on marking your ballot are posted in the booth or station, and are on the ballot.
- You do not have to vote on every issue on the ballot. However, if you vote more than once on a candidate or on an issue with only one choice allowable, the vote(s) in that race will not be counted.
- Turn the ballot over to see if there are candidates or issues on which to vote on the back of the ballot.
- If you damage a ballot, make a mistake, or change your mind, take the ballot back to the election judge and request a new one. Do not try to erase or cross out as it may cause a vote to not be counted.
- Do not make any identifying marks anywhere on the ballot – doing so will invalidate your ballot.
- When you have finished voting, follow the instructions given to you by the election judge. Hand the voted ballot to the appropriate election judge or place it in the voting system if one is provided. Never hand your ballot to anyone besides an election judge.
Any registered voter may vote by absentee ballot:
- Fill out an Application for Absentee Ballot to have ballots for which you are eligible automatically mailed to you.
- An application may be mailed, or dropped off at the county election office.
- Applications must be received by the county election office by noon the day before the election. If you drop off the application you will be able to pick up the absentee ballot at the same time, once ballots are available.
- An absentee voting packet will be mailed to the address you indicated on your application, or you can pick up the packet at the county election office at the time you apply for the absentee ballot, if ballots are available at that time.
- After voting the absentee ballot, return in the envelope(s) provided. READ INSTRUCTIONS INCLUDED WITH THE PACKET CAREFULLY.
- Be sure to sign the affirmation on the signature envelope before sending back or dropping off. Note: The person to whom the ballot was issued must be the person signing the return envelope.
- You can track your absentee ballot for federal/state elections at My Voter Page.
For more information about voting, call your local election office or call the Secretary of State’s toll-free voter hotline: 1-888-884-VOTE (8683).
Visit your local election office Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. and complete a registration form.
Download a registration form here, print, complete and return to your county election office.
Late register in person at your county election office or the designated location by noon the day before the election.
Fill out a registration form when you apply or renew your driver’s license or State of Montana ID at the Department of Motor Vehicle office.