MTPR

Linda McCulloch

Corey Stapleton is elected as Montana’s next Secretary of State
Courtesy of CoreyStapleton.com

Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton is reporting voter fraud in Missoula County. But the county’s top election official says it was just a clerical error. Stapleton’s allegation comes a day after state officials certified the results of the May 25 special congressional election.

Voters in Clinton, MT cast ballots during the 2016 elections.
Rebekah Welch

A Republican representative from Kalispell says voters should be required to show a photo ID in order to cast a ballot. Representative Derek Skees introduced his proposal to change Montana’s law during a House Committee meeting today, while opponents argued the bill would make it harder for some people to vote.

Montana Political Practices Commissioner To Remain In Office For Now

Dec 30, 2016
Montana Commissioner of Political Practices, Jonathan Motl.
Corin Cates-Carney

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana's commissioner of political practices will remain in office beyond the expiration of his term Sunday until a state judge rules on a lawsuit seeking to keep him in office for a full six years.

It’s been just over a week since Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke was nominated to be secretary of Interior by President-elect Donald Trump. Since then, at least half-a-dozen Republicans and one Democrat have expressed interest in replacing him. If Zinke is confirmed by the Senate, Montana will hold a special election next year to fill his House seat.

To talk over what this means for Montana, we’re joined by Rob Saldin, a political science professor at the University of Montana and analyst for MTPR.

State Representative Amanda Curtis
Christopher B. Allen

State Representative Amanda Curtis of Butte is the first Democrat to indicate interest in replacing Congressman Ryan Zinke if he is confirmed as secretary of the Interior next year. Curtis says she’s not yet decided whether she’ll seek her party’s nomination, but says if Zinke is appointed,  it would a great opportunity for Democrats to take back the seat and that she has been encouraged to run by her supporters and family:

Corey Stapleton is elected as Montana’s next Secretary of State
Courtesy of CoreyStapleton.com

Corey Stapleton was elected as Montana’s next Secretary of State.  The Billings Republican faced Democrat Monica Lindeen for the open seat.

Absentee Voting Runs High As Election Day Begins

Nov 8, 2016
The entrance to a polling place at the Missoula County fairgrounds, Nov. 7, 2016.
Andrew French

Montanans – those who haven’t already voted – are heading to the polls today to decide hard-fought races ranging from president to local ballot measures. 

As of this morning, Montana Secretary of State Linda McCulloch's official website reported that nearly 298,000 Montanans had cast absentee ballots. That's about 85 percent of all the absentee ballots sent out statewide.

Montana Secretary of State Linda McCulloch
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

  Secretary of State Linda McCulloch called a press conference in her office today to reassure voters that Montana’s election is not being rigged.

“This talk is not only irresponsible," she says, "it is woefully misinformed and is meant to create distrust and doubt in a system that has been in place and successful for centuries.”

Corey Stapleton, Republican Candidate for Montana Secretary of State.
Corey Stapleton For Secretary of State of Montana

Because Montana Secretary of State Linda McCulloch is term-limited, Republican Corey Stapleton and Democrat Monica Lindeen will face each other in the general election to replace her.

Rep. Skees said his bill, HB-357, is an attempt to protect the state’s elections system from voter fraud.
IIP Photo Archive

New satellite election offices near and on American Indian Reservations in Montana saw low turnout before the primary, but state and tribal officials are still calling the effort to expand voting equality a success.

Satellite Voting Office Opening In Browning

Mar 28, 2016
Rep. Skees said his bill, HB-357, is an attempt to protect the state’s elections system from voter fraud.
IIP Photo Archive

A satellite voting office is opening on the Blackfeet Reservation for the first time. The new office in Browning would help reservation residents gain equal access to same-day voter registration.

Mail-In Voting Expected To Minimize Lines In Montana

Mar 23, 2016

Montana election officials say it’s unlikely the state’s June primary election will see the kinds of long lines Arizona voters experienced Tuesday in that state’s presidential primary.

Will Marlow (CC-BY-NC-2)

The Blackfeet Tribe is challenging Pondera County Commissioners and Montana’s Secretary of State Office about tribal member’s voting access.

Montana's May 25 special election will be held with both mail ballots and polling places available.
Josh Burnham

Five new satellite election offices are set to open on tribal lands across Montana ahead of this year's elections. They’re the result of a directive issued last fall by Secretary of State Linda McCulloch. She says it will make voting easier for people on reservations.

Election Season Gets Underway With Candidate Filing

Jan 14, 2016
A handful of legislative and judicial candidates waited outside Secretary of State Linda McCulloch's office Thursday to be the first to register when she opened the doors at 8 a.m.
William Marcus

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The candidate filing period began Thursday, kicking off Montana's 2016 election season in which voters will decide whether to give Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock and Republican U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke new terms in office.

Three Ballot Measures Approved For Signature Gathering

Oct 15, 2015
Montana Capitol.
William Marcus

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Secretary of State's office says the sponsors of three proposed ballot initiatives may begin gathering signatures in attempt to put them before voters in the 2016 election.

One of the proposed measures would allow adults to buy, possess and use marijuana, while the second would outlaw the drug completely, including for medicinal purposes.

Corey Stapleton has entered the Montana Secretary of State race.
Courtesy Corey Stapleton

A former state Senator from Billings has announced he’s running for statewide office.

Republican Corey Stapleton served eight years in the Montana Senate, and since leaving office he’s run unsuccessfully for Governor, the U.S. House, and the U.S. Senate. Now he wants to be Secretary of State.

Monica Lindeen, commissioner of securities and insurance, and Democratic candidate for Montana secretary of state.
Courtesy Monica Lindeen

State auditor Monica Lindeen hit the campaign trail this week, announcing her bid to become Montana's next secretary of state. Fellow Democrat Linda McCulloch currently holds that position and was re-elected back in 2012.

Dartmouth College may be looking at a substantial fine for violating Montana’s campaign finance laws.

Today State Political Practices Commissioner Jonathan Motl found that the school, along with Stanford University, broke state law last October, when the two mailed fliers to 100,000 people in Montana purporting to rank candidates for state supreme court on a liberal to conservative scale.

Lawmakers Consider Changes To State Election Laws

Jan 21, 2015
Hearing room.
William Marcus

Montana lawmakers are considering changes to the state’s election laws.

One bill (House Bill 77) would change who would prosecute political robo-calls which are against the law in Montana. The other bill would allow a special election to fill a vacancy in the U.S. Senate, rather than an appointment by the Governor.

Jackie Yamanaka of Yellowstone Public Radio has more from the Capitol.

Montanans Vote To Keep Same-Day Voter Registration

Nov 5, 2014
File Photo

Montanans rejected efforts to curb late voter registration Tuesday.

The legislative referendum, LR-126, would have ended the ability for people to register to vote as late as Election Day, which has been allowed in Montana since 2006.

With 78 percent of precincts in, the Associated Press reported that 56 percent had voted to keep same-day registration and 44 percent had voted to end it.

Dartmouth College and Stanford University today apologized for a controversial Montana campaign mailer. They’ll send follow-up letters to the 100,000 people who got that mailer, telling them to ignore it. Those letters are supposed to arrive before election day.
 
"I think it’s a good first step," says Linda McCulloch, Montana's Secretary of State. "I think it’s a good pre-election step."

Have you received an official-looking mailer that rates the political leanings of Montana's four nonpartisan Supreme Court candidates?

If so, take a close look at it; the flier features an image of Montana's state seal and compares the candidates' political ideologies to those of President Obama and former Republican Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

Problem is, it's a fake. The state of Montana has nothing to do with these mailers.

University of Montana Journalism School

Busy, hardworking Montanans either benefit from being able to register to vote on election day, or, allowing people to register on election day makes voting harder for other busy, hardworking Montanans.

Those were the arguments Montana Secretary of State Linda McCulloch and State Senator Champ Edmunds made at a debate put on by City Club Missoula.

LR-126 Asks Montanans To End Election Day Registration

Oct 13, 2014
File Photo

Voters face only two ballot issues this election, and the one getting the most attention is about voting itself.

Since 2006, Montanans have been able to register to vote on the same day they cast their ballots. That would end if voters approve Legislature Referendum 126 on Nov. 4.

A “yes” vote would repeal same-day voter registration. If that happens, citizens who don’t register by 5 p.m. on the Friday before an election won’t be able to vote.

A “no” vote would keep the system as it is.

Supporters of an initiative looking to expand Medicaid in the state can now begin gathering signatures to place the measure on the November ballot.

The Attorney General’s Office approved the Healthy Montana Plan this week after finding problems with earlier versions of the initiative.

Capitol Reporter Dan Boyce says opponents still believe the measure violates the state constitution. 

The 2014 election officially begins

Jan 9, 2014
Dan Boyce

UPDATE 5:30 PM

The Secretary of State's Office has reported a total of 139 Montana candidates filed to run during the first day they could officially do so.

Republican legislative candidates at a news event Thursday afternoon said Montana voters are tired of what they call failed liberal policies both in the state and in Washington D.C.

Dan Boyce

The already-crowded field of candidates vying for Montana’s U.S. House seat continues to grow.

Current Republican Representative Steve Daines announced earlier this month he will be running for the Senate seat being vacated by Democratic Senator Max Baucus in 2014.

Helena Real Estate Investor Drew Turiano says he’s running for the House seat as a Republican. It’s his second time running for office in Montana after coming in last in a four-way Republican Primary for Secretary of State in 2012. He hopes that loss has helped with name recognition for this race.