HELENA — At a press call, Thursday morning Governor Steve Bullock announced that Montana counties would have the option of conducting the general election exclusively through mail ballots.
County election officials formally asked Bullock on July 24, to allow them to choose whether to conduct an all-mail ballot for the general election -- and asked that he make that decision by Aug. 10, which is 85 days before the election.
Election officials expressed concern that COVID-19 has made some polling locations unavailable. They also said it could be tough to find election judges willing to staff polling locations.
Bullock, who declared a state of emergency in late March to battle the coronavirus pandemic, has the power to supersede state election law during an emergency, and allow counties to choose all-mail ballots for the statewide election.
He made that call for the primary election. Montana saw a record turnout on June 2, surpassing the old primary-election high by 90,000 voters.
The Montana Republican Party told MTN last week that going to all-mail voting in November would “limit options for Montanans who prefer to vote in-person on election day,” and that they should have the option to go to the polls.
This is a developing story and will be updated.