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Contact: Terri McCoy, 406-444-2807

Absentee Ballots Mailed to Absent Military, Overseas Citizen Voters

HELENA, MT – Secretary of State and Chief Elections Officer Linda McCulloch announced that voting for Montana’s 2012 Primary election officially kicked off today with county election offices mailing nearly 2,500 absentee ballots to the state’s absent military and overseas citizen electors. All other voters, who are signed up to receive an absentee ballot for Montana’s 2012 Primary election, will be mailed their ballot on Monday, May 7.

“We are excited to offer our absent military citizens electronic ballot marking for the Primary election,” Secretary McCulloch said. “It is the first time this service has been available for a federal Primary, and I am confident it will go a long way to ensuring increased voter turnout by our hard-working military voters who are either deployed or absent from the state due to active-duty requirements.”

The Secretary of State’s Electronic Absentee System (EAS) allows Montana’s absent military servicemen and women to conveniently register to vote and apply for, receive and mark a statewide election ballot. Marked ballots have to be returned to the county election office by email, mail or facsimile.

In January 2012, the Federal Voting Assistance Program awarded Montana a $160,000 grant to enhance the EAS system to include first-time access to a Primary ballot, and an auto-fill voter registration application. It is available to qualified members of the armed forces, their families and overseas U.S. citizens who are absent from their Montana voting residence, (13-21-102, MCA).

“I work hard to ensure that every Montanan who wants to vote, can vote,” Secretary McCulloch said. “Our uniformed citizens are no exception. Just like any other voter living at home, or overseas, they have options for registering to vote and casting their ballot in a convenient and secure manner.”

The regular registration deadline for Montana’s Primary election is Monday, May 7. Late registration begins Tuesday, May 8 and runs through 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.  Late registration is temporarily closed from noon to 5:00 p.m. the day before the election.

Any registered voter may vote by absentee ballot. To vote absentee, fill out an Application for Absentee Ballot or Annual Absentee List Application. The application must be turned in to the county election office by noon the day before Election Day. Applications are available on the Secretary of State’s website at sos.mt.gov.

View your voter registration, access a sample ballot, find the location of your polling place and track the status of your absentee ballot with “My Voter Page”, at sos.mt.gov.