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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Sen. Scott Sales Enters Race For Montana Secretary Of State

Sen. Scott Sales (R) - Bozeman
Corin Cates-Carney
Montana Public Radio
Sen. Scott Sales (R) - Bozeman

Senate President Scott Sales announced today that he is running for the office of Secretary of State in 2020.

The Republican from Bozeman is the first declared candidate for the position since current Secretary of State Corey Stapleton announced earlier this year that he will run for governor.

Sales told reporters Monday that he sees the job of overseeing the state’s elections as an opportunity as he nears the end of his term in the Senate.

"I’m very serious about having fair and secure elections. And it’s not a partisan issue."

Sales says that means, in part, not substituting voting ease for election security. Sales did not support the state’s move to allow same day voter registration in 2005. As secretary of state he says he would consider requesting the Legislature to push back when people can sign up to vote.

"I think we should put more emphasis — and I’m not saying barriers — but that we need to make sure that we do the best to our ability that the people who are voting are qualified to vote in the state of Montana. And I don't think it has to be a burdensome process."

Sales also says he is open to the idea of all mail-in ballot elections, but he hasn’t made up his mind on the issue.

Since 2003, Sales has spent nearly 16 years in both the Montana House and Senate. In the House he lead the Republican Party as majority leader and oversaw the chamber’s work as speaker.

Sales was elected Senate president in the last two legislative sessions. 

Corin Cates-Carney manages MTPR’s daily and long-term news projects. After spending more than five years living and reporting across Western and Central Montana, he became news director in early 2020.
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