Secretary of State Linda McCullochs Newsletter
A Commitment to Open Government

Click here to go to the Montana Secretary of State's website

October 1, 2009

Welcome to my first newsletter! This quarterly packet is intended to enhance your understanding of the Montana Office of the Secretary of State through useful and timely information. If there is anything you would like to see included in a future newsletter, please email your suggestions to

I look forward to hearing from you.

Linda McCulloch

In This Issue:

2009 Legislative Session

Shortly after I was inaugurated in January, I had the honorable duty of convening Montanas 61st Legislative Session in the House of Representatives. In addition to monitoring and providing testimony on pertinent bills, my office sponsored four important pieces of legislation. The following SOS sponsored bills were signed into law by Governor Brian Schweitzer:

SB 155 - Post-election audits of vote-counting machines
I requested this bill to help ensure the integrity of Montana
s elections process. Voters should be confident not only that their vote counts, but that the outcome of each election is fair and accurate. I stress that the new law audits the vote-counting machines, not the elections staff. I will keep you updated on this law as we begin to implement it throughout the state.

Secretary McCulloch celebrates the passage of SB299 with members of her Notary staff.

SB 156 - Candidate filing deadlines
This law was drafted to give county Election Administrators sufficient time to properly submit their ballot information. The filing dates now start and end ten days earlier.

SB 299 - Rule Change for Notaries
Beginning October 1st, Montana
s 20,000 notaries public will be required to keep a journal in which theyll record every notarial action and the signature of the person requesting the authorized document. Each new notary will also have to complete a free training course to better protect the public and themselves from fraud and forgery. These changes keep Montana in line with the national standard.

HB 475 - Online delivery of Administrative Rules
This law saves time and money by making it legal for state or local agencies to provide online access to the Administrative Rules of Montana (ARM) and the Montana Administrative Register (MAR) rather than an expensive, printed copy.

Secretary of State Information Management System (SIMS)

Secretary Linda McCulloch and FileONE President Bob Sydnor launch the SIMS project.

Secretary Linda McCulloch and FileONE President Bob Sydnor launch the SIMS project.

Our office is currently in the process of utilizing $1.5 million dollars in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to better serve Montana businesses. SIMS will replace more than twenty aging computer systems with one, web-based system. The innovative technology will provide our office the means to better serve the 21st Century needs of businesses operating across Montana.

The SIMS team includes the offices IT department, the Business Services department and contracted resources from FileONE and AssurIT. Each division will be in charge of implementing unique phases of the project through next year.

Montana Digital Government Summit

Technology is an integral part of our daily lives, and new advancements are being discovered every day. This rapidly changing tool has the ability to provide efficient and effective services to the citizens and businesses of Montana, and I am confident that collaboration is the key to innovation.

Secretary McCulloch introduces keynote speaker Dr. Phil Gardner, of Michigan State University.

Secretary McCulloch introduces keynote speaker Dr. Phil Gardner, of Michigan State University.

On September 14th, the Secretary of States Office joined Government Technology magazine and the Center for Digital Government to host the 4th Annual Montana Digital Government Summit in Helena, MT.

More than 150 state and local government employees participated in the one-day event. The full-house was another reminder that government employees are consistently open to learning and discussing ways to better serve Montanans.

Nowhere in the Northern Rockies is there another event quite like this. Discussions ranged from portfolio management to Web 2.0s impact on government. Participants learned how to modernize legacy applications, telework, facilitate cross-boundary collaboration, protect privacy, and operate web-based applications safely. Featured presentations included ways to adapt the workplace to accommodate the future workforce and an in-depth look at how Montanas population compares to other states. It truly was a successful event!

State and local government employees interested in attending next years summit should contact Pete Carparelli at 444-4283.

Important Annual Report Notice

Screenshot of the online Annual Report application.I recently issued a statement reminding Corporations and Limited Liability Companies that on September 1st, our office began Revocation of Authority and Dissolution proceedings against those that have not successfully filed their Annual Report. Montana law requires these entities to file their Annual Report before April 15th.

When I issued the notice, I encouraged delinquent entities to take advantage of the immediacy and convenience of filing their Annual Report online at

Montana law states foreign entities that do not file their annual report before November 1st will have their certificate of authority revoked. Domestic entities that do not file their annual report before December 1st will be involuntarily dissolved.

To read my full statement, please click here.

Municipal Elections News

Secretary McCulloch files several mail-ballot envelopes in Billings.

Secretary McCulloch files several mail-ballot envelopes in Billings.

Eight of Montanas 56 counties hosted a municipal primary on September 15th. As part of my statewide tour of elections offices, I spent the day observing Yellowstone County Election Administrator Duane Winslow and his elections crew as they conducted the city of Billings mail-ballot election.

I observed each stage of the mail-ballot process and received valuable knowledge on procedures for receiving voted ballots, running ballots through the vote-counting machine, tabulation of results, and results reporting.

In addition to spending time in the elections office, I accompanied the elections crew to drop-off sites to retrieve mail-ballots dropped off during the day at various sites. The election judges did a marvelous job! I was impressed with their expertise and the hard work they put forth. I dont know about the Yellowstone County elections crew, but by the end of the day, I was exhausted!

Elections Administrators and Clerks & Recorders in all counties work exceptionally hard to ensure that Montana elections run smoothly and accurately. I look forward to continuing to complement their efforts at the state level and working with county election administrators to ensure that all Montanans have the opportunity to register and vote.

Continuity in Government & Records Recovery

Continuity in recovery means learning the right techniques to recover records.Do you have a plan in place to protect your vital records in the event of an emergency?

We do. As part of Montanas statewide earthquake disaster and recovery drill, our Records and Information Management team, along with the Historical Societys State Archives staff, hosted an Essential Records: Emergency Planning & Recovery Workshop.

Topics included identification and emergency planning for the protection, use and recovery of records. Participants received hands-on training and learned varying techniques for recovering documents based on the type of incident, record media and available resources.

Thank you to the Montana Department of Administrations Internet Technology Safety Division and Risk Management & Tort Defense team for addressing their commitment to help agencies handle disaster recovery steps as related to technology and insurance coverage.

Montana Notary of the Year Award Nominations

Do you know someone who should be Montanas Notary of the Year?

Montanas Notary of the Year will have provided excellent service, gone above and beyond in addressing a clients needs, and exemplified the best qualities of the twenty-thousand Montana notaries public.

Nominate someone today at The winner will be announced on November 5th.

Montana Notary of the Year

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