For the first time ever, Montanans will not be allowed to vote in person. According to Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton, many people are already voting by mail, but an all-mail ballot is problematic because many are sent with no recipient.

“I think the system we have now is a very good system,” Stapleton said. “When I look at the 50 other states, they don’t do as good of a job as we do because we have reined that in. That is the true danger and we knew that when Governor Bullock signed his decree. There are 14,000 ballots right now that are not good because the people either changed their name or their addresses weren’t good. That wouldn’t have happened if we had polling place elections.”

According to Stapleton, about 200,000 people in Montana prefer to vote in person. He believes this is an issue that should have been handled by the legislature.

“There were other options, but that is not how this governor operates,” Stapleton said. “He made his declaration without discussing things and that is just the way he is. For example, in his declaration he told people they could register up until this Saturday, but that is a weekend and counties aren’t open on the weekend. Little things like that let us see that he was really just making his own mind up and making his own decisions without thinking through all of the what ifs. I do think the 150 legislators need to weigh in on this once the dust settles and I think, by in large, the dust has settled.”

Stapleton said this is the second time in three years that Governor Bullock has tried to move to an all-mail ballot.

“You might remember in 2017, during the legislature, I was literally 100 yards away and he didn’t talk to me,” Stapleton said. “He just had a press conference outside of his office calling for an all-mail ballot. This has always been a not so secret ambition of some on the left to move Montana into the category of always voting by mail and getting rid of all the election judges and witnesses at the local level.”

As Secretary of State, Stapleton retains the constitutional right to take legal action. In terms of voter turnout, Stapleton said we are about 11 days into voting right now and we are quite a ways behind where we were four years ago.

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