Montana Public Radio

Christi Jacobsen

The candidates competing to be Montana’s next Secretary of State sparred in a weekend debate hosted by MTN News. The Democrat accused his Republican opponent of working for a corrupt administration and said he’ll clean up the Secretary of State’s office. The Republican stood by her work and experience and labeled her opponent clueless.

With Nov. 3 approaching, Montana’s secretary of state candidates are offering starkly contrasting visions for the state’s top election office. Both candidates have emphasized greater election security but have different plans to achieve it.

The secretary of state race doesn’t catch the headlines of Montana’s high profile gubernatorial and U.S. Senate contests but Montana State University political scientist Eric Raile says it carries big implications. Whoever voters choose will oversee the next four years of Treasure State elections, among other duties.

Montana Candidates Look Forward To Campaigning In Person

Jun 3, 2020

Montana candidates advancing to the general election are looking forward to the time when they can get back on the campaign trail. The primary election, ramped up while the state was under directives designed to help prevent spread of the novel coronavirus, had them reliant on phone calls to reach voters.

 

The Montana Secretary of State oversees elections and election laws, maintains records on legislation and business filings, and serves on the state Board of Land Commissioners, among other duties. Seven candidates are vying for the position in the primary election.

Christi Jacobsen
Courtesy

Montana Public Radio is gathering information on all statewide primary candidates to publish as a resource for our audience. We asked all the statewide candidates to respond to the following questions via email, limiting their answers to 300 words per question. These are their unedited responses.

Secretary of State candidate Christi Jacobsen:

Election sign at a Missoula polling place.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

Montana will receive more than $3 million from the federal government to improve state elections. Much of the money will be given to local governments as part of the federal Help America Vote Act.

The sign outside the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Office.
Steve Jess / Montana Public Radio

The top enforcer for state political campaign regulations says a complaint filed by Montana Democrats is frivolous.

Political Practices Commissioner Jeff Mangan wrote in his decision Friday that Republican Secretary of State candidate Christi Jacobsen did not use public time or resources in support of her campaign, as alleged by the Democratic party.

Montana Democrats have lodged an ethics complaint against a Republican candidate for Secretary of State. Democrats accuse the current Secretary of State Chief of Staff of using public time to campaign.

Montana Secretary of State Office
William Marcus

A fourth Republican is entering Montana’s primary race for Secretary of State.

Bowen Greenwood, current clerk of the Montana Supreme Court, announced Tuesday he’s joining the 2020 race for the job of top election official.

Mistakes In Montana Voter Guide Cost $265,000

Oct 12, 2018
An image of part of the email from Montana's Secretary of State office announcing errors in the state Voter Information Pamphlet
Montana Secretary of State's office

The official Montana voter information pamphlet many voters have received contains formatting errors. An addendum correcting them has now been mailed out at a total cost of more than $265,000.

In an email yesterday, Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton announced that the one page addendum was being mailed.

Pages