FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 29, 2016
CONTACT: Emily Dean, (406) 444-2807
Secretary of State Linda McCulloch Delivers Inaugural Report on the State of Elections
HELENA, MT – On Thursday, September 29, Secretary of State and Chief Election Official Linda McCulloch delivered the inaugural report on the State of Elections to showcase the progress and status of Montana’s elections. Secretary McCulloch reflected on her nearly eight years as Secretary of State and the progress made in conducting elections in Montana.
Secretary McCulloch spoke about the steps Montana has made in conducting fair and transparent elections. Montana has consistently led the nation in elections, from electing the first woman as Secretary of State to ensuring same-day voter registration for all Montanans.
Secretary McCulloch announced the recently released PEW Charitable Trusts Election Center ranked Montana as 12th in the nation in election performance.
“That’s a major improvement from 2008, the year before I took office, when we were ranked 29th,” Secretary McCulloch said. “In eight years we’ve gone from the middle of the pack to one of the top performers in the nation.”
Other highlights included the nearly 200,000 Montana voter registrations processed from 2012-2014. Montana leads the nation in absentee voting. In 2000, only 15% of Montanans voted absentee, by 2014 60% of Montanans took the opportunity to vote an absentee ballot.
Secretary McCulloch described the next steps needed for Montana to remain a leader in conducting elections. Forty other states currently use or are setting up systems for online voter registration. Bills to implement online voter registration have been voted down by the Montana Legislature the past three sessions.
“Online voter registration is the reason we rank 12th in the PEW study,” said Secretary McCulloch. “The folks at PEW reported that if we had online voter registration we would rank in the top couple of states in the nation for election performance.”