MT Secretary of State Predicts High Voter Turnout

By Beacon Staff

GREAT FALLS – Montana’s secretary of state predicted Wednesday that 70 percent of the state’s voters would cast ballots in what he said would be a smoothly run general election.

“We honestly don’t anticipate any significant problems,” Brad Johnson said.

New state laws in 2006 that allowed voters to register through election night created challenges for election officials, Johnson said. But this time around, officials are accustomed to the laws, he said.

Johnson predicted that the popularity of absentee voting in Montana would eventually lead to the state using a primarily mail-based election system.

He also said during Wednesday’s news conference that he hopes the Montana Legislature will change state law to allow his office to hold random audits following an election to make sure votes are accurately counted. Most counties in the state count their paper ballots with optical-scanning equipment, while a handful still count ballots by hand.