Montana Public Radio

absentee ballots

A 2020 Montana primary absentee ballot
Nicky Ouellet / Yellowstone Public Radio

Attorneys for President Donald Trump’s campaign and the national and state GOP argued in federal court Tuesday against Montana Gov. Steve Bullock’s directive allowing for all-mail ballot voting this November. They made their case in U.S. District Court in Missoula for why they believe the directive should be blocked. The governor’s legal counsel dismissed their claims and argued that the directive needs to stay in place.

Montana Public Radio’s Shaylee Ragar shared her reporting on the case with MTPR's Corin Cates-Carney.

Montana absentee ballot for the 2017 special congressional election.
Eric Whitney / Montana Public Radio

As of Friday, 45 of Montana’s 56 counties have filed plans to hold all-mail elections this November after Gov. Steve Bullock issued a directive in August allowing counties to do so. However, some people are pushing back against the measure and Republican officials have filed a lawsuit trying to stop it.

A 2020 Montana primary absentee ballot
Nicky Ouellet / Yellowstone Public Radio

A Montana judge issued a ruling Tuesday that blocks the state from enforcing a voter-approved law restricting the collection of absentee ballots during elections.

Campaign Beat: Big Money Is Pouring In To Montana's Elections

May 22, 2020

Outside PAC money is pouring into Montana's races for Senate and governor - one indication of how competitive those races are. But money isn't the only factor, which gives some underdogs hope. Gubernatorial candidate Mike Cooney gets criticized for participating in a campaign call in his state office. Absentee ballot collection remains a contentious issue. And Montanans likely aren't as leery as the president when it comes to voting by mail.

Listen now on Campaign Beat, with Sally Mauk, Rob Saldin and Holly Michels.


Candidates for statewide offices in Montana are gearing up for next year’s primaries. Republican State Senator Scott Sales announced in March he’s running for Secretary of State. He recently spoke with YPR News’ Jess Sheldahl about election security and his plans to develop communication with the County Clerks and Recorders.

State, County Officials Differ On Montana's Voting Needs

Nov 16, 2018
Voters in Clinton, Montana, cast ballots during the 2016 elections.
Rebekah Welch / UM School of Journalism

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The midterm elections saw a record number of absentee ballots overwhelm voting machines in some Montana counties, found election officials in a dozen smaller counties still hand-counting votes and underscored the need to replace hundreds of aging and broken voting machines for the disabled.

Montana voters who have not yet mailed in their absentee ballot are out of time to do so and county election officials now suggest hand delivering ballots to make sure they are counted.

Helena voter Kathryn QannaYahu got concerned this week when she checked in on how long it took for local election officials to get her ballot after she’d dropped it in the mail.

Requests For Absentee Ballots Grow, Despite Concerns Behind LR-129

Oct 23, 2018

By the numbers alone, absentee ballots are a big hit with Montana voters – and getting bigger.

As of Oct. 22, with two weeks of campaigning still to go, officials reported sending out more than 406,000 absentee ballots. That’s almost 50,000 more than were sent to voters in Montana’s 2016 presidential election.