Once again Montana counties successfully administered elections this fall. We thank all the many election workers, volunteers and staff, who protect the integrity and fairness of our elections.  

Montana elections have and should continue to be fair and secure. Here are just a few ways our dedicated public servants make this happen:

1. Every Montana election worker takes an oath to protect the integrity of the election. Election workers work in teams to ensure ballots are never handled, opened, or counted by only one person to prevent vote tampering.

2. Only paper ballots are used in Montana. This prevents computer hacking of our vote count and allows for easy recounts and auditing.

3. Voting and vote counting machines are tested prior to each election to make sure they are accurate and functioning properly.

4. County and State Canvassing Boards audit the vote. They recount specific races in precincts that are randomly chosen to verify that vote tallies are accurate. Only after the Canvas Boards complete their audit does the Secretary of State certify the election results, which could be November 30 or later.  

5. Identification is required to register to vote in Montana and ONLY CITIZENS may register to vote. Your signature is required to register, so you can’t register on-line, which protects voter registrations from hacking.

If you are interested in elections, we encourage you to contact your local County Elections Office. Elections Offices are always looking for new people to join the corps of volunteer election judges who help at the polls and with counting the vote. They need citizens willing to work a few days each year to help with elections. Volunteers must complete election judge training and earn a modest salary for their time.  

Our gratitude is especially necessary in these turbulent times. Public officials--including election officials, school board members, and Congressional representatives--are enduring a heightened number of threats and intimidation simply for doing their jobs. Citizens unhappy with election results or policy votes are stepping beyond civil debate and advocating violence. This is unacceptable.

We can go beyond expressing our gratitude to actually help protect our election officials from threats and violence. The Freedom to Vote Act contains provisions that would restrict the politicized removal of election officials and increase protections for local election administrators.  The Bill helps prevent election officials from being removed for partisan or political reasons. The Freedom to Vote Bill allows officials administering federal elections to bring a lawsuit challenging their removal if they were replaced for reasons other than gross negligence, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office. The bill also increases other federal protections against intimidation of election workers.

Here is yet another reason why we need Congress to pass the Freedom to Vote Act! You can help protect election workers by urging our US Senators to pass the Freedom to Vote Act.  Here’s how to contact Montana’s Senators:

Senator Tester: call Missoula office:  (406) 728-3003

Or email:  https://www.tester.senate.gov/contact/

Senator Daines:  call Missoula office:  (406) 549-8198

Or email:  https://www.daines.senate.gov/connect/email-steve

Democrats and Republicans alike certified that the 2020 election was the most secure election in our history, with record turnouts all across the country. Our 2021 Montana local elections again demonstrated the security and integrity of our elections. We have the hundreds of volunteer election officials to thank for this. Let us celebrate this triumph of democracy brought to us by our friends and neighbors who serve as volunteer election officials every year! 

The League of Women Voters has been registering voters and providing non-partisan voting information for over 100 years. Membership is open to men and women, citizens and non-citizens over the age of 16. For more information about the Missoula League, go to our website: lwvmissoula.org

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