The 2007 Legislature approved House Joint Resolution 46, calling for a study of election laws in Montana to provide a comprehensive cleanup and clarification of the laws, including possible revisions that would allow or require all elections to be conducted by mail.
At its Sept. 15, 2008, meeting, the State Administration and Veterans' Affairs Committee assigned sponsors for five bill drafts developed as part of the study, including legislation for a pilot project to use only mail ballot elections in 17 counties in the next two years. The bills will be introduced as committee bills in the 2009 Legislature.
Many of the committee's decisions on draft legislation for this study were based on input from a work group of interested parties that met five times over several months in 2007.
After nearly a year of study and public comment, the committee approved the following bill drafts for introduction in the 2009 Legislature. The drafts will receive House Bill or Senate Bill numbers when they are formally introduced. They can be followed through the Legislature's bill-tracking system to determine their status at any point in the process, by using the LC number listed below.
LC 35: Cleanup and Clarification of Election Laws (May 2008 version)
LC 59: Absentee Ballots and Vacancies on Ballot (May 2008 version)
LC 60 : Mail Ballot Pilot Project (July 2008 version)
LC 106: Use of Accessible Voting Machines in Certain Elections (May 2008 version)
Work Group Meetings
The HJR 46 work plan called for discussions with interested parties as a first step in identifying potential changes to update and clarify Montana's election laws and for discussing the issue of mail ballot elections. A work group met five times from Aug. 8, 2007, to Dec. 10, 2007. The following documents summarize the work group's discussions.