What to expect on Election Day in Montana

Election Day voter registration, flexible ID requirements to vote
Voting youth Missoula.jpg
Posted at 8:48 PM, Oct 17, 2022

HELENA — The 2022 Montana Voter Information Pamphlet many Montanans received this week does not reflect a court ruling from September, which reinstated Election Day voter registration and relaxed ID requirements for in person voting.

Yellowstone County District Court Judge Michael Moses ruled three voting laws unconstitutional on Sept. 30, about a month before the upcoming midterm election.

In addition to reinstating same day registration and making voting ID requirements more flexible, Moses’ ruling also removed barriers to people collecting ballots by allowing compensation for people who gather ballots and drop them off at election offices.

Missoula County Elections Administrator Bradley Seamen acknowledged that the back and forth on these voting laws have voters asking a lot of questions about what the rules will be come Election Day.

“It has been very confusing,” Seamen said. “I know on our instructions we made sure to put the caveat, because we knew they were under legal review, so we said at the time of printing these instructions, this is the law.”

For voters still unclear on what elections officials will allow on Election Day, here are the two biggest changes from the primary election in June.

Voters who go to a polling place to vote will need some form of ID. However, it does not need to be a photo ID. Acceptable forms of ID include a driver’s license, tribal ID, student ID, state ID, voter registration card, a current utility bill, a bank statement, pay check, government check or other government document that shows the person’s name and current address. Voters submitting absentee ballots do not need an ID.

Unregistered voters can register to vote at their local elections office as long as they are in line to register before 8 p.m. on Election Day, which is Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Montana Secretary of State’s Office Spokesperson, Richie Melby, said the court’s “last second changes thwart everything planned from state and local election officials.”

The office finalized the language for voter publications and outreach efforts months ago, Melby said, which is why the voter information pamphlets do not reflect the court’s ruling from September.

Voters with questions can contact their local elections offices or the Secretary of State’s elections help desk line at (406) 444-9608.

Seamen also encouraged voters to go to Montana’s voter page to check all the information is accurate ahead of Election Day (Tuesday, November 8, 2022).