Mover's Guide: Montana

August 10, 2010

Elections Division:  888-884-VOTE (8683)

I moved from the address at which I am registered.  What should I do?

I moved from another state.

If you moved to Montana from another state, you must register to vote in Montana to be able to vote.[1]  You can register in person at the election administrator’s office anytime before the election; however, any voter who registers after noon on the day before or on Election Day must appear at the county election office in order to vote.[2] Unless you register at the election administrator’s office, the last day to register in time to vote in the next election is thirty days before the election.[3]

If you moved from out of state, you are only eligible to register if you have been a resident of Montana and of the county in which you want to vote for at least thirty days.[4]  But under federal law, if you move within thirty days of a presidential election, you are allowed to vote for President and Vice President in your former state of residence, either in person or by absentee ballot.[5]

I moved within Montana.

If you moved within the same county, you must notify the election administrator and fill out a transfer form or a new registration form to update your address.[6]  If you moved to a different county in Montana, you should complete a new registration form to update your registration records.[7]  That form is available here: http://sos.mt.gov/Elections/forms/voters/register.pdf

The election is right around the corner and I never updated my registration from my previous address.  What should I do?

Montana voters who move are still entitled to cast a ballot that will be counted — even if they did not notify the appropriate election official about the move before Election Day.

Scenario One: New Address, Same Polling Place

If you moved to a new address that is covered by the same polling place as your old address, you can vote a regular ballot at that polling place after confirming your change of address at the polling place. This is true regardless of how close to the election you moved.[8]

Scenario Two: New Address in Same County but New Polling Place

If you moved to a new address within the same county but with a different polling place, you can vote at the polling place associated with your old address or a centralized location set up by the election administrator for the first election after your move.[9]  You need to give your new address and fill out a transfer or new registration form.[10]

Alternately, you can update your registration and vote in person at your county election administrator’s office on Election Day.[11]

Scenario Three: New Address in New County 

If you moved to a new address in a different county more than 30 days before an election you should complete a new registration form for your new address in the county.[12]

If you moved to a new address in a different county within 30 days of an election, you can:

  • Vote in person or by absentee ballot at the polling place associated with your old address;[13] or
  • Update your registration and vote in your new polling place.[14]

or

  • Register to vote or update your registration and vote in person at your county election administrator’s office on Election Day.[15]

[1] Mont. Code Ann. § 13-1-111(1)(a) (2010).

[2] Mont. Code Ann. § 13-2-304; Mont. Admin. R. 44.3.2015 (2010).

[3] Mont. Code Ann. §§ 13-2-301(1)(a), -304.

[4] Mont. Code Ann. § 13-1-111(1)(c).

[5] 42 U.S.C. § 1973aa-1(e) (2010).

[6] Mont. Code Ann. § 13-2-511 (2010).

[7] Mont. Code Ann. § 13-2-514.

[8] Mont. Code Ann. § 13-2-512(3).

[9] Mont. Code Ann. § 13-2-512(1).

[10] Mont. Code Ann. § 13-2-512 (3).

[11] Mont. Code Ann. § 13-2-304; Mont. Admin. R. 44.3.2015 (2010).

[12] Mont. Code Ann. § 13-2-514(1).

[13] Mont. Code Ann. § 13-2-514(2)(a).

[14] Mont. Code Ann. § 13-2-514(2)(b).

[15] Mont. Code Ann. § 13-2-304; Mont. Admin. R. 44.3.2015.