Montana Public Radio


Rep. Sharon Greef, Governor Greg Gianforte, and Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen are pictured at the HB 176 bill signing, April 19, 2021.
Gov. Gianforte's office

Gov. Greg Gianforte signed several bills into law this week, including policies to end same-day voting registration and change voter ID requirements; limit local public health powers; expand telehealth access; give businesses tax breaks for vocational training; allow insurance companies to consider gender when setting rates; address the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous people; and update state laws after federal recognition of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

Voters line up in the morning to register to vote and cast their ballots outside the MetraPark pavilion in Billings on Election Day. November 03, 2020.
Jess Sheldahl / Yellowstone Public Radio

Republicans in the Montana Senate have endorsed a bill that would end same-day voter registration in the state, pushing the bill closer to Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte’s desk.

Bill to Change Polling Hours Takes Next Step

Mar 12, 2021

HELENA — The 67th Montana Legislature has been marked by a series of bills attempting to change the elections process in Montana.

Some of them, like House Bill 455, didn’t even make it out of committee. That bill, sponsored by Rep. Lola Sheldon-Galloway, R-Great Falls, would have made absentee voting much more difficult. During its only hearing, Rep. Geraldine Custer, R-Forsyth, said the bill was unworkable.

“This is probably the worst bill I’ve seen all session,” Custer said, “and it needs to die.”

Lawmakers Hear Montana Native American Voting Rights Act

Feb 28, 2021

Montana lawmakers heard passionate testimony Friday on a bill seeking to increase Native American voting rights and access to the polls.

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

Montana lawmakers are considering several bills this session that aim to regulate election practices, including one that’s nearly identical to a policy that’s currently tied up in court.

President Donald Trump and then Republican Senate candidate Matt Rosendale on stage during a July 5, 2018 rally in Great Falls, MT.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

Montana Rep. Matt Rosendale is joining a group of Republican U.S. Representatives who have announced their intention to object to Electoral College results from certain states during a joint session of Congress Wednesday.

Rosendale joins Montana Republican Sen. Steve Daines in calling for the creation of an Electoral Commission to conduct an emergency 10 day audit of election returns.

Indigenous Get Out The Vote Groups Make Final Push

Nov 2, 2020

With one day left before Election Day, Native American rights advocates are making a final push to get out the vote as COVID-19 cases rise and the temperature drops.

At a recent voter registration drive-through event on the Crow Reservation, workers wearing masks and gloves help drivers fill out registration forms. Western Native Voice, a nonprofit working for Native American empowerment, held many events like this across Montana throughout the summer and fall.

Elections officials in Montana’s Lewis and Clark County have begun counting absentee ballots ahead of Election Day.

Elections staff in Helena will hear absentee ballots winding through two tabulator machines as long as their office is open on Nov. 2.

Voters in Flathead County voters wait to cast their ballots in person or to get a replacement ballot, November 02, 2020.
Aaron Bolton / Montana Public Radio

Voters could face long lines on Election Day in some Montana counties.

At the Flathead County elections office Monday, Election Manager Monica Eisenzimer said voters had been waiting in a line stretching around the building’s second floor and across a skyway all day.

Campaign Beat: Record Turnout, Tightening Races And Dirty Tricks

Oct 30, 2020

Voter turnout in Montana could break an all-time record. A new poll shows the governor's race tightening. New ads in that race look to make closing arguments. Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie is the victim of a Cooney campaign dirty trick. Senator Daines brings Cruz, Rubio and Don Jr. into the state for some last minute campaigning. And we may not know who won the top races until the day after election night.

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