Important Voter Links
To vote in Gallatin County, you must:
- Be registered as required by law.
- Be 18 years old or older on or before the next election.
- Be a citizen of the United States.
- Have lived in Gallatin County, MT for at least 30 days.
You cannot vote if:
- You’re a convicted felon serving a sentence in a penal institution.
- You’ve been judged in a court of law to be of unsound mind.
VOTER REGISTRATION CLOSES 30 DAYS PRIOR TO ELECTION DAY
How to Register to Vote
Registering to vote in Montana is quick and painless. You can:
- Visit the Gallatin County Election Office on weekdays between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. and complete a registration form. The Gallatin County office is located 311 West Main Street, Room 103 in downtown Bozeman. (Bozeman, MT 59715) The phone number is (406) 582-3068 and the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fill out a registration form and mail it to the Gallatin County election office (311 West Main Street, Room 103, Bozeman, MT 59715.) Registration forms are readily available from local election offices, a number of civic organizations, and government agencies. There is a registration form available in your phone book, or you download the registration form provided on this Web site. Mail it to the address above or drop it off at the Gallatin County Elections Office.
- Fill out a registration form when you apply for or renew your driver's license.
You may vote only in the precinct in which your residence is located. If you're a student living at school, you can choose whether to register at home or school, but you can't register or vote in both places. When you fill out your registration form, do not list a post office box as your residence. If you don't have a street address, describe the location of your residence. Use cross streets, for example, or list the section, township, and range. Once you've registered, you'll get a voter confirmation notice from your local election office verifying your registration and telling you which precinct you vote in. Registration is generally permanent unless you do not vote in a federal general election and do not respond to confirmation mailings. If you don't vote in a federal general election and do not respond to mailings, your name will be placed on an inactive voter list. If you fail to vote in two federal general elections after the mailings are sent, your name will be removed from the voter rolls. You do need to register again if you change your address or your name.
How to Vote
A few weeks before every statewide election, you will receive an official Voter Information Pamphlet, published by the Secretary of State. This will provide balanced information about the initiatives and referenda that will be on the ballot. (Once you've decided how you want to vote, you may want to write down your choices and take this list to the polls with you on Election Day!)
Your voter registration card lists the location of your neighborhood polling place. If you've misplaced your card, call your local election administrator to find out where to vote. Or watch the newspaper in the days leading up to the election for a list and/or map of polling places.
When you enter your polling place, an election judge will greet you, ask your name, and confirm that you are registered to vote in that precinct. He or she will also ask you to show identification. This can be any current photo ID that shows your name (for example, a valid driver's license, school ID, state ID, or tribal ID) or a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, voter confirmation notice, government check or other government document that shows your name and current address. Next, the election judge will ask you to sign next to your name in the precinct register. A second election judge will give you your ballot and explain how to mark it and what to do with it once you've finished voting. Then you'll enter a private voting booth to mark your ballot. When you've finished marking your ballot, fold it or place it in the secrecy folder given to you with the ballot so that your choices are concealed. Then hand your ballot to the appropriate election judge.
You are not required to vote in every race or on every issue listed on the ballot. On the other hand, if you vote more than once in a race where only one choice is allowable, your vote in that race will not be counted. Be sure you turn your ballot over and check to see whether any races are printed on the back. If you damage a ballot or want to change the way you've voted, take the spoiled ballot to an election judge and exchange it for a new one. Don't try to erase; with machine-counted ballots especially, erasures may result in your ballot being disqualified.
How to Vote by Absentee Ballot
Any registered voter may vote by absentee ballot, even if he or she is able to vote in person on Election Day. To vote absentee, you must first apply for an absentee ballot. Applications are available during a period beginning 75 days before Election Day and ending at noon on the day before the election. You may pick up an application at the Gallatin County election office (311 West Main Street, Room 103, Bozeman, MT 59715) or you may call (406-582-3068) and ask to have an application mailed to you. You can also download a free application from this Web site. Mail it or drop it off at the Gallatin County election office.
Once you’ve submitted your application, your absentee ballot will be mailed to you, unless you indicate on the application that you would prefer to have someone pick it up for you. Once you’ve marked your ballot, return it to your local election office before the polls close on Election Day in the secrecy envelope that is provided.
The fastest way to vote absentee is to go directly to the Gallatin County election office where you can apply for a ballot and vote all at the same time at least 30 days before the election.