Time Short to Pass Bill to Hold Special Election by Mail

Montana Republican Party Chairman Jeff Essmann says an all-mail election would favor Democrats

By Associated Press

HELENA — Montana election officials say a bill that would give counties the option of holding an all-mail ballot for the special congressional election must pass before April 10 or it will be ineffective.

Secretary of State spokeswoman Morgan Williams says that is the date when counties would be required to turn in ballot plans under the measure. If a county doesn’t turn in a plan by the deadline, it must hold a normal election on May 25.

The Montana House has had the bill since Feb. 24, when it passed the Senate. A hearing is scheduled for March 23.

County election officials support the mail-ballot bill, saying it would save them between $500,000 and $750,000. Republican legislative leaders and Montana Republican Party Chairman Jeff Essmann oppose it after Essmann said an all-mail election would favor Democrats.

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