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Gallatin Co. voters weigh in on late voter registration

By Jordan Moore, KTVM Reporter, jmoore@ktvm.com
Published On: Jun 02 2014 07:31:04 PM MDT
Updated On: Jun 02 2014 08:34:27 PM MDT
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

The day before the election marks the end of late voter registration, giving election officials a brief break before same day registration and voting begins early Tuesday. However, a referendum on the ballot this November could push late registration back.

Legislative referendum 126 would end late voter registration on the Friday before election day and eliminate election-day registration all together.

We spoke to Gallatin County Clerk and Recorder Charlotte Mills on how the move might impact her office.

"Procedurally it would just move the busy day to Friday, and then Friday we would probably have the long line," said Mills.

She says it could ease some of stress on election day.

"In one aspect, free up my trained clerks, so they could be of more assistance to the people at the polling places," said Mills.

If the ballot measure sounds familiar,  that's because the Republican-controlled Montana House and Senate passed a bill ending late voter registration in 2013, but the bill was vetoed by Gov. Steve Bullock. To get around the veto,  lawmakers decided to put the measure to a vote of the people.

Supporters of ending late registration say it would help clean up Montana's voting process and improve accuracy, but not everyone agrees. We found two late registration voters on Monday. First time voter McKinsie Clarkson says registration fit in with her schedule.

"Obviously I'm in the late registration so it was very convenient for me to be able to come in today," said Clarkson.

We also caught up with voter Eli Anselmi at the Gallatin County Elections Office who says this is not a usual scenario.  

"I've been out of the state working," said Anselmi.

He says he is happy last-minute voting registration exists.

"Also for us to get an opportunity to exercise our right of voting for elected officials, it's important to be able to do that," said Anselmi.

Montana has allowed late registration on election day since 2006. It's important to note that if you plan to do same-day registration and voting, it must be done at the county election office.