January 5, 2011
CONTACT INFORMATION: Terri McCoy, (406) 444-2807
McCulloch Introduces Vote-By-Mail Legislation: House Bill 130
HB 130 Sponsored by Rep. Pat Ingraham
HELENA, MT - Secretary of State Linda McCulloch on Wednesday outlined her comprehensive Vote-By-Mail legislation (House Bill 130) and explained how it positively impacts Montana voters.
“Vote-By-Mail elections increase voter participation, enhance voter protection and save taxpayer money,” said McCulloch. “Montanans can be confident this bill ensures every opportunity to vote quickly and conveniently, even from the comfort of their own home.”
“With HB 130, county Election Administrators have the oversight to protect the integrity of Montana elections efficiently and effectively,” said Montana State Representative Pat Ingraham, sponsor for HB 130 and a former Sanders County Clerk and Recorder. “Counties have used Vote-By-Mail successfully for more than ten years. It’s time to expand it statewide.”
House Bill 130 expands Vote-By-Mail to all local, municipal, state and federal elections. Schools would retain the option to choose between polling place or mail-ballot elections. The legislation applies equally to every county, and would take effect on January 1, 2012.
The Montana Association of Clerks and Recorders estimates that expanding Vote-By-Mail could lead to county cost savings of more than $2 million every election cycle.
“This bipartisan legislation saves taxpayers millions of dollars while providing more time, more flexibility and more ways to vote in every election,” said McCulloch. “I’m proud of the work we’ve accomplished this past year, and I look forward to discussing Vote-By-Mail with the 62nd Montana Legislature.”
HB 130 was drafted in cooperation with Secretary of State McCulloch; Election Administrators from Yellowstone, Blaine, Pondera, Missoula, and Gallatin counties; representatives from various policy groups across Montana including Montana League of Rural Voters, Montana Disability Rights, Montana Conservation Voters, Montana Association of Clerks & Recorders, Forward Montana, and Montana Women Vote; and representation on behalf of Montana’s Sovereign Tribal Nations.