Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 1. General Provisions and Administration

Statement Of Purpose -- Legislative Poll -- Legislative Oversight Of Election Law Suspensions

10-3-121. Statement of purpose -- legislative poll -- legislative oversight of election law suspensions. (1) In order to prevent an overly broad delegation of legislative powers to the executive branch and to ensure continuity of government during a period of emergency as provided in Article III, section 2, of the Montana constitution, the legislature retains the authority to limit the governor's ability to unilaterally revise election laws while providing a means to provide for a prompt and timely oversight through an expedited polling process.

(2) When the legislature is not in session, the governor may, in writing, request the secretary of state to poll the members of the legislature to determine if a majority of the members of the house of representatives and a majority of the members of the senate are in favor of a legislative declaration to suspend the provisions of any statute prescribing the procedures for an election or otherwise control the ingress and egress to a polling location as provided in 10-3-104(4).

(3) The request must:

(a) state the conditions warranting the poll; and

(b) contain a legislative declaration to temporarily suspend the election laws.

(4) Within 3 calendar days after receiving a request, the secretary of state shall send a ballot to all legislators by using any reasonable and reliable means, including electronic delivery, that contains:

(a) the legislative declaration subject to the vote; and

(b) the date by which legislators shall return the ballot, which may not be more than 10 calendar days after the date the ballots were sent.

(5) A legislator may cast and return a vote by delivering the ballot in person, by mailing, or by sending the ballot by facsimile transmission or electronic mail to the office of the secretary of state. A legislator may not change the legislator's vote after the ballot is received by the secretary of state. The secretary of state shall tally the votes within 1 working day after the date for return of the votes. If a majority of the members of each house vote to approve the declaration, the declaration that was sent with the ballot has the force and effect of law. A ballot that is not returned by the deadline established by the secretary of state is considered a vote against the declaration.

(6) If the declaration is not approved, the governor may request another legislative poll under the provisions of this section or call a special session of the legislature under the provisions of Article VI, section 11, of the Montana constitution to consider the temporary suspension of the election laws.

History: En. Sec. 1, Ch. 357, L. 2021.