Montana Gov. Steve Bullock today on Aug. 6 issued a directive allowing counties to conduct an all mail ballot general election in November.
Bullock said during a press call it’s increasingly unlikely the coronavirus pandemic will subside enough by November to hold a traditional polling place election without serious risk to public health.
“It only makes sense that we start preparing now to ensure no Montanan has to choose between their vote and their health,” Bullock said.
County clerks and recorders asked Bullock to allow counties the option to hold an all mail ballot election to avoid crowding and increased exposure to the virus. They said it may be difficult to secure polling places for a traditional election, and that hundreds of election workers would sit out due to health concerns.
County elections officials made a similar request to conduct the June 2 primary by mail. Bullock agreed and issued a similar directive then, and every county opted in.
The all mail ballot primary, the first in Montana history, saw record turnout 10 percent higher than the last presidential primary election.
Bullock said mail ballots for the general election will go out Oct. 9. He said Montanans will still have the option to vote in person in all counties.