Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- How can I find my polling place?
Find your polling place by visiting the Polling Places map website.
- If you are unable to locate your polling place, you can contact us by phone or email our office to determine where to cast your vote.
- What forms of identification are acceptable to vote?
All voters will be required to show one form of identification at the polls on Election Day. Acceptable forms of identification are:
- Montana (MT) Driver’s License or any form of photo ID with the elector’s name, including but not limited to:
State-issued ID, federal-issued ID, tribal ID, student ID, and military ID.
- If an elector does not have a photo ID, the elector may provide a utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, or any government-issued document with the elector’s name and current address.
- Can an individual vote without any form of identification?
Yes. Montana law, in combination with the Help America Vote Act, provides alternative options for a person without the required forms of identification to cast their vote. Here is how it works:
- If you do not have any of the items listed above, you can still vote by requesting and filling out a "Polling Place Elector ID" form, provided by an election judge at your polling place.
- You can vote a provisional ballot and provide one of the items listed above the day after the election. Your provisional ballot will be counted if you provide one of the items on the list to the County Election Office by 5 pm the day after the election, or mail it to the County Election Office postmarked by the day after the election.
- How can I obtain an absentee ballot?
You may request an application for an absentee ballot by mail, phone, or in person and you may mail the completed application directly to the election administrator or deliver it in person to the election administrator at :
106 Fourth Avenue E
Polson, MT 59860
After the close of regular registration, 30 days prior to an election, absentee ballots may be requested in person at the Election Office. Or, current registered voters may submit a request for an absentee ballot for mailing by submitting an Absentee Request in person or via mail.
- What if I make an error on my ballot?
If you made a mistake on your absentee/mail ballot or on the ballot you received at your polling place, our office urges you to request a new one to ensure your vote is counted.
- What are the dates of the federal primary and general elections?
A federal primary election is held every even-numbered year on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in June. A federal general election is held every even-numbered year on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. The presidential elections are combined with the congressional, statewide, state district, and county elections.
- What are the dates of the municipal primary and general elections?
A municipal primary election, if necessary, is held every odd-numbered year on the first Tuesday after the second Monday in September. A municipal general election is held every odd-numbered year on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
- What are the deadlines for the close of regular registration for elections?
Regular registration closes 30 days before any election. Late registration begins the next day, and closes at noon the day before Election Day. Late registration occurs by appearing in person at the Lake County Election office in the Courthouse in Polson.
- I moved within the last year, do I need to re-register?
Yes! If you moved within Lake County you need to re-register by mail or at our office. Please visit our Voter Registration page (PDF) to re-register. If you moved to a different county, you need to register within your new county of residence. Visit the Secretary of State's website to see a complete list of Montana election offices.
- I recently changed my name, do I need to re-register?
In order to verify voter eligibility, our office requires current voter information. See the next FAQ if you recently registered to vote at your local driver's license center.
- I updated my voter registration at the driver's license center, do I still need to register to vote?
Voter registration information the driver's license center collects can take two to three weeks to reach the Elections Office. It is best to wait for that time period and then visit the My Voter page to verify if the driver's license center submitted the most recent information. If it is near Election Day and the My Voter page does not reflect your new information, please contact or visit the Lake County Election Office to learn how to register through our office.
- How does absentee voting work?
Absentee voting is when voters receive their official ballots by mail. Individuals must complete the Application for Absentee Ballot in order to receive their voting packet via mail. Voters absent from the polls on Election Day because they are out of town, are ill, or simply prefer the convenience, can still cast their vote with an absentee ballot. Absentee voting is sometimes referred to as "voting by mail" since it allows the individual to cast their ballot from home.
- What should I do if I am not sure that my absentee ballot will reach me or that my voted ballot will reach the election administrator on time?
If you think your ballot might not be received by mail on Election Day, you can drop it off at the Lake County Election Office in the Lake County Courthouse at 106 4th Avenue E in Polson, Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm and on Election Day from 7 am to 8 pm. Ballots must be received in the Election Office by 8 pm on Election Day. Do not mail ballots on Election Day they won't reach us in time to be counted.