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Contact: Terri McCoy, 406-444-2807

Absentee Voting for Primary Election Opens May 7, 2012
Marks Close of Regular Voter Registration, Availability of Sample Ballots

HELENA – Secretary of State and Chief Elections Officer Linda McCulloch is reminding Montanans that absentee voting for the Primary election on June 5, 2012, opens in one week.

Counties will mail the first round of absentee ballots to identified absentee voters on Monday, May 7. Registered voters may still request an absentee ballot by turning in an application to the county election office before noon, on June 4, the day before the election. Applications are available on the Secretary of State’s website at sos.mt.gov.

“It’s important to vote in the way that is right for you,” Secretary McCulloch said. “Whether you enjoy the convenience of voting by absentee ballot or the tradition of heading to the polls, you can be confident that your vote counts. Montana has some of the best run and most secure elections in the nation, and I encourage every qualified voter to cast a ballot in the Primary election on June 5.”

Monday, May 7 marks the close of regular voter registration. Those who are not registered to vote by then may still register in person at the county election office during the late registration period. Late registration is available from 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, May 8 through 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 5.

“I’ve worked hard to keep voter registration open right up through the close of polls on Election Day,” Secretary McCulloch said. “I’m committed to ensuring that every qualified person in Montana has ample opportunity to securely exercise their right to vote.”

For the first time this year, voters can view a precinct-specific sample ballot for the June 5 Primary using the Secretary of State’s online elections tool, “My Voter Page.” The “MVP” is a one-stop shop for accessing all the information needed to more conveniently participate in state and federal elections. Voters can also check their voter registration; view their precinct, House and Senate district; find the location of their polling place; and track the status of their absentee ballot. Voters can call the Secretary of State’s toll-free voter hotline at 1-888-884-VOTE (8683) with questions.

“Voting is one of the most fundamental rights we share as Americans,” McCulloch said. “Our Democracy and elections process should not be taken for granted. Register if you haven’t done so already, and visit “My Voter Page” to verify your voter information.”

Absentee ballots were sent to qualified military and overseas citizen voters on April 20.The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) created special provisions for members of the armed forces and overseas U.S. citizens to register and vote while absent from their Montana voting residence. Voters qualified under UOCAVA can now register and vote using the Electronic Absentee System (EAS), which can be accessed online at sos.mt.gov/Elections.