Elections and Government Services Administrative Rules of Montana Business Services Notary and Certification Records and Information Management

December 3, 2010

CONTACT INFORMATION: Terri McCoy, (406) 444-2807

McCulloch: Montana’s Voter Registration Laws Among Best in the Nation
Secretary of State Shares Montana’s Success Story with Colorado Commission

HELENA, MT – On Wednesday, Montana Secretary of State Linda McCulloch and Gallatin County Clerk and Recorder Charlotte Mills addressed the Colorado Best Practices and Vision Commission to discuss how Montana’s voter registration laws provide a fundamental failsafe for all eligible Montana voters to cast a ballot.    

The Colorado Best Practices and Vision Commission is a nonpartisan commission under the Colorado Department of State and considers what it defines as complicated legislative initiatives in order to help facilitate a productive hearing before the state Legislature. The Commission paid all travel expenses for both McCulloch and Mills.

“I believe that Montana’s voter registration laws are among the best in the nation,” McCulloch said.  “Late registration ensures that any eligible voter who wants to vote can vote.” 

“Late registration not only helps new voters in the area who have lived here for 30 days, but it also helps those already registered who have moved since the last time they voted,” Mills added. “It gives citizens every opportunity to exercise their right to vote.”

Since the 2006 General Election, nearly 43,000 Montanans have taken advantage of the state’s late registration laws to register in the 30 days before a statewide election. Nearly 44% of those registrants registered to vote on Election Day.

Election Year
and Type

Late Registrants Prior to
Election Day

Late Registrants
On
Election Day

Total
Late Registrants

2006 General

3888

4301

8189

2008 Primary

3591

2679

6270

2008 General

10938

7419

18357

2010 Primary

1218

613

1831

2010 General

4523

3735

8258

“I have 43,000 reasons to support late registration,” McCulloch said. “Even if the law helped only one Montana voter, I’d still be a fan.”

In Montana, late registration starts after the close of regular registration (30 days before the election) and ends when polls close on Election Day. The law was passed by the 2005 Montana Legislature and implemented for the 2006 General Election. In 2009, late registration was expanded to include the state’s absent military and overseas citizen voters.

McCulloch invited Mills to accompany her on the trip in order to provide a more balanced perspective of the state’s late registration laws. McCulloch, an elected Democrat, provided the state overview, while Mills, an elected Republican, provided the county overview.