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Voting by absentee and mail ballot is growing in popularity across Montana. Secretary of State and Chief Election Officer Linda McCulloch has created two new tools aimed at making it easier for voters to sign up for the state’s Annual Absentee List: an enhanced Voter Registration Card and an Annual Absentee List Application.

Earlier this year, the Legislature voted to require that voter registration cards in Montana include an option for voters to sign up for the Annual Absentee List. To help make it easier for Montanans who are already registered to vote to apply for an absentee ballot, McCulloch created a separate and easy-to-use Annual Absentee List Application postcard.

A record 47 percent of votes were cast by absentee ballot in the 2010 General Election. County Election Administrators expect that number to rise even higher in 2012.

In 2010, nearly 180,000 Montanans were on the state’s Annual Absentee List. To remain on the list and receive their ballot at home, voters must complete, sign and return an address confirmation notice each year. Confirmation notices are sent in January by the county election office to the registered address on file for each voter on the list.

“A large number of candidates, races and ballot measures are scheduled to appear on the General Election ballot in 2012, and long ballots can translate into long lines at the polls,” McCulloch said. “Voters may want to consider the benefits of absentee voting as a way to avoid the lines, take as much time as is needed to consider the options, and complete a ballot in the privacy of their own home.”

Montana’s Voter Registration Card and Annual Absentee List Application are available at county election offices, the Secretary of State’s Office, and online at All forms must be completed, signed and returned to the appropriate county election office.

“I’m committed to ensuring that very qualified Montanan who wants to vote, can vote,” McCulloch said. “Absentee voting increases participation, while preserving the integrity of our election system.”

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