Voter Registration Guide: How Do I Vote?

Everything you need to know to vote in Blaine County

Who Is Eligible To Vote

To vote in Blaine County, need:

  • To be registered, as per law
  • To be 18 years or older on or before the next election
  • To be a United States citizen
  • Have resided in Blaine County for at least 30 days

Even if you meet above qualifications, you will not be allowed to vote if:

  • You’re serving a sentence in a penal institution as a convicted felon
  • You’ve been judged to be of unsound mind in a court of law

How To Register To Vote

There are several ways to register to vote in Blaine County.

Note: Regular registration closes 30 days before the election, however, you can still register and vote in the election by late registration at the Blaine County election office until noon the day prior to the election. 

  • Visit the Blaine County election office Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. and complete a registration form. Late registration closes at noon the day before an election.
  • Fill out and sign a voter registration application and drop it off at the Blaine County election office, or mail to Blaine County Elections Dept. PO Box 278, Chinook, MT 59523-0278. ID numbers provided on the voter registration card are kept confidential and are not available for public inspection.
  • Fill out and sign a registration form when you apply for or renew your driver’s license or Montana ID.

 

Additional Information:

Voter ID registration options.

Please bring proof of your residential address in Blaine County. After your registration has been processed, your voter confirmation card will be mailed to you. It will contain your polling place and precinct.

For students attending college outside the US:

  • vote in your county of permanent residence by absentee ballot or going to your polling place
  • register in the county where you are going to school

For students attending college in Montana from out-of-state:

  • become a Montana resident (after 30 days of residency) to vote here OR
  • vote in your home state

If you move and become a resident of another Montana county, you must re-register in that county.

45 days prior to Federal & Presidential elections, ballots are available to military and overseas voters. The Secretary of State’s Electronic Absentee System seamlessly registers and issues an electronic ballot for eligible UOCAVA voters. Overseas voters should use this tool if they are not currently registered as UOCAVA and wish to receive a ballot. Please visit the Secretary of State Military & Overseas Voter Page for more info.

The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) created special provisions to make registering to vote, obtaining, returning, and tracking absentee ballots easier for members of the armed forces or certain overseas U.S. citizens while absent from their Montana voting residence. UOCAVA voters can be identified as one of the following:

  • Member of the Uniformed Services or Merchant Marines on active duty
  • Spouse or dependent of a member of the Uniformed Services or Merchant Marines on active duty
  • U.S. citizen residing outside the United States
  • Other individuals meeting definitions of “absent uniformed services voter” and “overseas voter” under Montana law (13-21-102, MCA).
  • Note: the Electronic Absentee System is for voters covered under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) only. A user must affirm their eligibility under this Federal Law before using the system, under penalty of perjury.

The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) also provides information for UOCAVA voters, including an absentee voting guide for Montana UOCAVA voters.

Federal Post Card Application Voter Registration and Absentee Ballot Request for Overseas/Military

How does absentee voting work?

Absentee voting was created so that individuals not able to cast their vote on Election Day could vote via mail. This still applies, but since 1999 Montanans can vote absentee without listing a reason why, which allows voters the opportunity to review and vote their ballots at home and return prior to or on election day.

  1. First, you must apply for absentee status with the Blaine County Elections Office. Complete an Application for Absentee Ballot
  2. A physical signature is required on the absentee application. Our office cannot accept typed print in place of a signature. If sending the application electronically: complete & print the online application, sign, scan, and email as a PDF.
  3. The application may be mailed:
    Blaine County Elections
    PO Box 278
    Chinook, MT 59523

    OR

    The application may be dropped off:
    Blaine County Clerk & Recorder’s Office
    420 Ohio St., Chinook

  4. An absentee voting packet will be mailed to the address you indicated on your application, or you can pick up the packet at the Blaine County Election Office at the time you apply for the absentee ballot, if ballots are available at that time.
  5. Applications must be received by the Blaine County Election Office prior to the close of regular registration.  Once, late registration has begun you must appear in person to drop off the application, you will be able to pick up the absentee ballot at the same time.
  6. After voting the absentee ballot, return in the envelope(s) provided. READ INSTRUCTIONS INCLUDED WITH THE PACKET CAREFULLY.
  1. Be sure to sign the affirmation on the return envelope before sending back or dropping off. Note: The person to whom the ballot was issued must be the person signing the return affirmation envelope.

You can track your absentee ballot at My Voter Page.

Blaine County offers numerous means for accessible voting for voters with a range of disabilities; you may ask an election judge to help you mark your ballot. You can also bring a friend or relative who, with the permission of the election judge, can go into the voting booth with you and help you vote.  If you cannot enter a polling place, election judges will assist you with “curbside voting.”

Blaine County provides a specialized voting machine at each polling place and the courthouse, called an ExpressVote, which enables individuals with disabilities to vote independently and privately.

The Electronic Ballot Request System (EBRS) is available for state and federal elections beginning 30 days before election day and through noon the day before election day.  You may apply for an electronic ballot that can be marked on your personal computer, printed, and returned by mail or in person at the election office.

You may also designate an agent to assist you with the voting process. Download an application to designate an agent. Deliver the signed application to the Elections Office at the Blaine County Courthouse.

Please visit the Secretary of State’s page for voters with disabilities for additional information.

Proper Voting Utensils
• To correctly mark a ballot use only black or blue ink.
• Gel ink or marker is not read by the scanner resulting in an under-vote (i.e., vote is not counted).
When a new ballot should be requested
• If the ink bleeds though the paper
• If you marked the incorrect oval with ink
• If the ballot was torn or compromised in any way that it cannot be fed through the scanner
How to request a new ballot
• Please visit the Elections Center at 420 Ohio St.
• Call the Elections Office at 406-357-3240 for a replacement ballot form.
Remember to sign your affirmation envelope.

If you have any questions, please call our office at 406-357-3240.

Canceling Your Voter Registration:

To cancel your voter registration, please fill out and submit this form to the Blaine County elections office.

Voter Registration Status

Active Voter

An active voter is someone who maintains communication with our office and has an active voting history. An example of this could be corresponding with our office or submitting an updated voter registration card. This individual also votes in federal elections held in November on even numbered years and did not have a mail ballot return to our office as undeliverable.

Inactive Voter

It takes several steps to be moved to the inactive list. If an individual does not cast a ballot in a federal election held on even numbered years and/or had an unresolved, undeliverable mail ballot, our office sends two mailings in the following odd numbered year. If the individual does not respond to the two mailings, they are moved to the inactive list. Reactivating is easy! Simply fill out a voter registration application to update your information. A majority of cases of inactivation are due to a person moving. If you have moved recently, check the My Voter Page to see if you are current with our office.

Provisional Voter

Montana law requires either a Montana driver’s license number or the last four digits of your social security number. If we are unable to verify this information through the Department of Motor Vehicles or Social Security Administration, you are given a provisional status. Provisional voters still receive a ballot, but we cannot accept the ballot until your verifying information is resolved. If you have a provisional status, call our office at (406) 357-3240 or email twilliams@blainecounty-mt.gov

Can't Find Info

Unable to locate your information via My Voter Page? Call our office at (406) 357-3240 or email twilliams@blainecounty-mt.gov. Or, simply fill out a voter registration application and return it to the Elections Office at 420 Ohio St, Chinook, MT.

Absentee Application

Any Montanan can vote absentee without listing a reason why. This allows voters the opportunity to review and vote their ballots at home and return prior to or on election day. Drop off or mail your completed form to the Blaine County election office.

A physical signature is required on the absentee application. We cannot accept typed print in place of a signature. If you are sending the application electronically, complete & print the online application, sign, scan, and email as a PDF.

How to Vote

Your polling place will be listed on your voter registration confirmation card. If your card is lost or misplaced, give us a call at (406)-357-3240 or visit My Voter Page.

    The Polling Place

    Before you will be permitted to receive a ballot, you will need to present to an election judge one of the following forms of identification showing the elector’s name: a Montana driver’s license, Montana state identification card pursuant to 61-12-501, military identification card, tribal photo identification card, United States passport, or Montana concealed carry permit.

    If you do not have the above forms of identification, you can provide a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check or other government document that shows your name and current address and photo identification that shows the elector’s name, including, but not limited to, a school district or postsecondary education photo identification.

    If you do not have any of the items listed above, you can still vote by requesting and filling out a “Polling Place Elector ID” form.

    Or, you can vote a provisional ballot and provide one of the items listed above. Your provisional ballot will be counted if you provide one of the items on the list to the county election office by 5:00 p.m. the day after the election, or mail it to the county election office postmarked by the day after the election.

    If you arrive at the polling place and inform the election officials that you have changed residence but have not updated your voter registration:

    • If your name appears on the register at that polling place, you can vote one last time at that polling place, after filling out a voter registration application with your new residence address;
    • If your name does not appear on the register at that polling place, in order to vote in the election you must go to the county election office, update your registration information and cast a ballot based on your updated residence address, or go to your old polling place and vote one last time at the old polling place.

    Once you have presented ID, an election judge will have you sign the precinct register.

    An election judge will give you your ballot(s), and explain how to mark it and what to do with it once you have voted.

    Each polling place has a voting machine accessible to people with disabilities that allows them to vote independently and privately. If you wish to use a voting machine, either an AutoMARK™ or ExpressVote®, let the election judge know.

    Filling Out Your Ballot

    Your polling place will provide a private voting booth or station. You will find directions for marking your ballot on the ballot itself, as well as posted in or near your voting booth. 

    You are not required to vote each and every issue on your ballot. Make sure not to choose two or more options for candidates/issues where only one choice is allowed. If this occurs, your vote for that candidate/issue will not be counted.  

    Be sure to turn your ballot over to make sure you aren’t missing out on any races or issues that could be on the back. 

    If you make a mistake, change your mind, or damage your ballot, request a new one from the election judge. Do not erase, cross anything out, or leave identifying marks on your ballot. 

    When you are done filling our your ballot, follow instructions from the election judge. Hand your completed ballot to the designated election judge or place it in the voting system if one is provided. Do not hand your ballot to anyone but an election judge. 

    Register Now!

    Visit us at 420 Ohio Street in Chinook between the hours of 8:00 A.M and 5:00 P.M. and complete a registration form.

    Download a registration form here, print, complete and return to the Blaine County elections office.

    Late register in person at 420 Ohio Street in Chinook by noon the day before the election.

    Fill out a registration form when you apply or renew your driver’s license or State of Montana ID at the Department of Motor Vehicle office.

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    420 Ohio St
    Chinook, MT 59523A

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