Montana Public Radio


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.

Election sign reading 'polling place' on a door at a Missoula polling place.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

The National Association of Attorneys general, including Montana’s Attorney General Tim Fox, issued a statement earlier this week urging people to make a plan for voting. The statement was also a reminder that voter fraud, suppression and intimidation are illegal.

A voter drops off a mail-in ballot with poll worker Vance Bennett at the Missoula Elections Center, October 21, 2020.
Megan Myscofski / Montana Public Radio

The coronavirus pandemic means poll workers’ jobs look a little different this year, as 45 of Montana’s 56 counties switch to all-mail elections, and polling sites adapt to social distancing.

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.

Early voting is underway in Montana. The novel coronavirus pandemic has led most counties to conduct an all-mail ballot election, while others are sticking to a traditional polling place election. YPR News’ Kevin Trevellyan convened a Zoom roundtable of county elections officials to find out how preparations are going and what voters should know as an unusual election season wraps up. The conversation has been edited for clarity.

Montana voters this election will decide whether the state constitution requires some updating. 

Constitutional Revisions 46 and 47 revise constitutional language dealing with signature collection efforts for ballot initiatives.

Election sign reading 'polling place' on a door at a Missoula polling place.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

The Blackfeet Nation announced  Wednesday that it settled with Pondera County officials after the county allegedly refused to open a satellite voting office on the reservation.