Montana Public Radio

Corey Stapleton

Montana's Election Results Confirmed

Dec 1, 2020

Montana officials certified the state’s election results on November 30.

“Alright, thank you very much. We are adjourned.”

In a meeting that stretched from morning to late afternoon, the Montana Board of State Canvassers confirmed results for every candidate and ballot initiative from each of the state’s 56 counties.

Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton says the process went smoothly without any surprises.

“So as of four o’clock this afternoon Montana is certified. Our election is complete,” Stapleton says.

Voting booths at the Missoula Library.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

An audit of the Secretary of State’s office suggests improvements can be made to secure the state’s elections, including hiring a security manager position that’s been vacant for multiple years.

Secretary of State Office at the Montana Capitol.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

A website issue at the Secretary of State’s Office led to hundreds of Montana businesses being overcharged for filing required annual reports to the state. Lee Newspapers reporter Holly Michels broke that story. She shares her reporting with Montana Public Radio’s Corin Cates-Carney.

The Montana Supreme Court ruled this week that only ballots received by 8 P.M. on Nov. 3 will be counted in this year’s general election.

With ballots already printed, Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton argued that temporarily abandoning the state’s 8 P.M. Election Day ballot receipt deadline would cause confusion among voters.

The state Supreme Court agreed and granted a stay late on Sept. 29, writing the extension would disrupt the status quo and interfere with the state’s ability to administer an orderly election.

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.

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.

Campaign Beat: Sports, Mail Voting And 'Fawning Adulation'

Aug 28, 2020

The pandemic response remains an issue in Montana's Senate race. Postal service cuts may factor in the governor's race. New ads in the House race feature candidates filleting a fish and changing a tire. The Greens are, once and for all, off the ballot. and "Trumptana" debuts at the Republican National Convention.

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

U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court denied on Tuesday the Montana Secretary of State’s attempt to restore the names of Green Party candidates to the November ballot.

Campaign Beat: Greens, Guns And Preexisting Conditions

Aug 21, 2020

Montana's Secretary of State loses his battle to keep Green Party candidates on the ballot. New campaign ads focus on family and gun rights. The two candidates for governor release their health care plans. The national party conventions may hold little sway over Montana races. And Governor Bullock rebukes State School Superintendent Elsie Arntzen in their ongoing dispute over school masking policy

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

State and federal courts ruled on Aug. 19 that the Green Party will remain off the November election ballot in Montana.

In a five to two decision, the Montana Supreme Court rejected Secretary of State Corey Stapleton’s appeal of an early August state district court order.

Lewis and Clark County District Court Judge James Reynolds ruled Stapleton erred in not accepting requests to withdraw more than 560 signatures from a petition to qualify the Green Party for the November ballot. Reynolds said the party wouldn’t have made it onto the ballot without those signatures