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

May 28, 2010

CONTACT INFORMATION: Terri McCoy, 444-2807

McCulloch Provides Counties Signature Gathering Guide; Includes Laws and Uniform Guidance for Election Day Polling Place Activities

HELENA – Working to protect the rights of both voters and signature gatherers across Montana, Secretary of State and Chief Elections Officer Linda McCulloch this week provided County Election Officials an Electioneering and Signature Gathering Guide for the Primary Election on June 8.

Signature gathering is traditionally abundant at the polling places on Primary Election Day, and the guide is intended to assist election officials as they plan to accommodate all Election Day activities.

“Signature gathering is a constitutionally protected right, but the activity must not interfere with voters’ participation in the elections process,” said McCulloch. “The guide reiterates uniform rules and regulations for accommodating elections activities and for protecting the safety and privacy of voters at every polling place location.”

Included in the guide are updated statutory guidelines regarding electioneering and signature gathering, answers to frequently asked questions compiled by the Commissioner of Political Practices, and a signature gathering complaint form which will be made available to voters.

“Montana’s election workers are committed to ensuring the integrity of each election,” said McCulloch. “I’m confident this guide will prove a valuable resource in planning for a successful Primary Election.”

The Secretary of State’s Office emailed the 10-page guide to each of Montana’s 56 County Elections Offices to save considerable printing, shipping and handling costs.

Important Notice: Signature gatherers must be a Montana resident, and may not be paid anything of value based upon the number of signatures gathered. (MCA 13-27-102) The law also requires signature gatherers to sign an affidavit stating that they personally gathered each signature, and that the signers knew the contents of the petition before signing the petition. (MCA 13-27-302)

The deadline for sponsors of constitutional and statutory initiatives to submit signed petitions is June 18, 2010 (MCA 13-27-301) . Qualifying ballot measures will appear on the General Election Ballot, November 2, 2010.