Absentee voting is officially underway in Montana.
Friday, October 12 is the deadline for county election officials to mail absentee ballots for November’s election.
“Some ballots had gone out sooner but that was for our military voters," says Rina Moore, Cascade County’s Clerk and Recorder. "Those went out a couple weeks ago on September 21, but the mass has gone out in the mail today. We’re right at about 32,000 that left from Cascade County.”
Moore says 76 percent of Cascade County voters now vote by mail.
“I think it’s convenient. You get the ballot 25 days early. You can vote it right away and drop it off with us, or you can wait until the last day. We all have busier lives now. A lot of people work and everybody doesn’t get the federal holiday off to go vote. So I just think it’s a matter of convenience.”
Moore urges Montana voters to get their absentee ballots in the mail no later than Thursday, November 1. She says that may seem early until you consider the volume of ballots that must be processed by the state’s elections officials.
“To mail it the day before [election day], it’s not going to get to us, a lot of times. You have clear until 8 o'clock on election night to get the ballot to us. It has to be received into the office, not postmarked. It’s not like your taxes. They have to be in our office by 8 p.m. on election night."
Montanans can also register to vote right up until 8 p.m. on election night.
Thursday, Montana’s Secretary of State’s office reported that 700,000 people in the state are now registered to vote.