WHAT ELECTIONS ARE TAKING PLACE IN MONTANA IN 2022? 

Montana has three separate elections this year. 

Local school board elections will take place May 3. 

The primary election is set for June 7, and will decide which candidates in contested primary races for the U.S. House of Representatives, the Public Service Commission and the state Legislature will represent their respective political parties in the general election. The primary will also determine which two of the three candidates vying for one of the seats will proceed to the fall ballot. Two candidates for a second Supreme Court seat will automatically advance to the general election.

Montana’s general election will take place Nov. 8.

WHAT IS THE DEADLINE TO REGISTER TO VOTE IN MONTANA THIS YEAR? 

For school board elections, the voter registration deadline is April 4. For the primary election, the registration deadline is noon on June 6. For the general election, the registration deadline is noon on Nov. 7. Montana voters can check their registration status online at any time using the state’s My Voter Page.

HOW DO I REGISTER TO VOTE IN MONTANA? 

Eligible Montanans can download a voter registration form from the Secretary of State’s website, or you can stop by your county election office anytime during regular business hours to pick up a paper application. Once you’ve completed the form, turn it in to your county election office, either in person or via mail, and make sure you have the appropriate identification with you. If you happen to be applying for a Montana driver’s license or identification card, you can register to vote at the same time.

Registrants should be aware that due to changes implemented by the Montana Legislature in 2021, voters are no longer allowed to register on Election Day. The cutoff time for registration, as noted above, is now noon the day before an election. 

This change is currently the subject of a legal challenge, with an injunction request pending before a state district court. Montana Free Press will update this information if litigation results in any changes.

WHAT TYPE OF IDENTIFICATION DO I NEED TO REGISTER TO VOTE? 

The Montana Legislature revised the state’s voter ID requirements last year. Under the new law, you must provide a Montana driver’s license number, a Montana state ID card number or the last four digits of your Social Security number. If you’re unable to provide any of those forms of identification, you can use a military ID, a tribal photo ID, a United States passport or a Montana concealed carry permit. 

Any other forms of photo identification, such as a student ID, must be presented alongside a document showing your name and current address. Examples include a bank statement, a utility bill or a government check. 

If you plan to vote in person, these requirements also apply to the identification you’ll be expected to provide at your polling place in order to receive your ballot.

This law is currently the subject of a legal challenge, with an injunction request pending before a state district court. MTFP will update this information if litigation results in any changes.

WHEN AND HOW WILL I GET MY 2022 MONTANA BALLOT? 

If you’re registered to vote absentee, your ballot should show up in your mailbox. Mail ballots for school elections are scheduled to go out beginning April 13. Primary election ballots will be mailed on May 13. General election ballots will be mailed on Oct. 14. Once you’ve cast your ballot, you can return it by mail or in person. Just remember, it has to reach your county election office by 8 p.m. on Election Day. For the primary and general elections, you can track the status of your mail-in ballot through the state’s My Voter Page.

If you plan to vote in person, the polls open at 7 a.m. on Election Day and close at 8 p.m. Check the My Voter Page if you’re unsure where your polling place is.

CAN I VOTE ONLINE?

Nope, that’s not an option in the state of Montana.

ARE THERE ANY SITUATIONS THAT WOULD MAKE ME INELIGIBLE TO VOTE IN MONTANA? 

According to state law, you can’t vote if you’ll be under 18 on Election Day, are not a U.S. citizen, or have lived in Montana less than 30 days as of Election Day. Convicted felons currently incarcerated in a penal facility are also not eligible to vote, nor are persons a judge has ruled to be of unsound mind. Otherwise, you’re clear to register and cast a ballot.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I’M TURNING 18 RIGHT BEFORE ELECTION DAY? 

You’ll still be eligible, you just have to be sure to register by the noon deadline the day before the election. If you submit your registration prior to turning 18, keep in mind that a new state law passed last year prohibits county election offices from mailing you a ballot until you are officially of legal age. But as long as you’re registered, you can show up at the polls on Election Day and vote in person. The same goes for people who don’t yet meet Montana’s residency requirements for voters, but will on Election Day.

This law is currently the subject of a legal challenge, with an injunction request pending before a state district court. MTFP will update this information if litigation results in any changes.

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Alex Sakariassen is a 2008 graduate of the University of Montana's School of Journalism, where he worked for four years at the Montana Kaimin student newspaper and cut his journalistic teeth as a paid news intern for the Choteau Acantha for two summers. After obtaining his bachelor's degree in journalism and history, Sakariassen spent nearly 10 years covering environmental issues and state and federal politics for the alternative newsweekly Missoula Independent. He transitioned into freelance journalism following the Indy's abrupt shuttering in September 2018, writing in-depth features, breaking...