How Not To Screw Up Your Montana Ballot
We get it: the political banter, divisiveness and tensions run high during election seasons. This isn't anything new in 2022, and sometimes people are just their worst selves until well after election day. You could blame a variety of things but let's make sure you're doing your part by:
A) actually voting, and
B) making sure you filled out your ballot correctly
It's best to do your part correctly before believing in conspiracy theories or casting aspersions on other people or groups. After all, if you screw up your ballot, yours is going to be a vote your favorite candidate likely won't get. Here's what NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT to do with your Montana ballot:
Use A Pencil
As anyone who's used an eraser before knows, pencil isn't permanent and can get easily smudged, leading to your selection not being recognized by the voting machines. Use a pen.
Using Red Ink
The reason black and blue inks are recommended by your Montana General Election Voting Instructions pamphlet is because they're much easier to be recognized by the voting machines. Lighter colors like red might not be.
Crossing Stuff Out
Voting machines are looking for filled in ovals. They're not looking for stuff like this. Other things that may invalidate your ballot are using white-out or other correction fluid.
Clever Insertions Of Personality
In Montana, marks like smiley faces, middle fingers or the like are not allowed on your ballot.
Incorrectly Marking Your Selections
This oval isn't completely filled in and likely won't be recognized by the voting machine.
It was fine for Wile E. Coyote to pay for his ACME deliveries by marking an X on the delivery slip. It is not fine for you to vote by not filling the oval in completely. Yes, even if you are Mr. Coyote (in which case your ballot will still be spoiled.)
Voting For More Than One Candidate In A Race
Unlike in other countries which use a tiered voting system, you can only vote for one candidate per race.
Ripping Or Tearing Your Ballot
OK this is an exaggeration, but any rips or tears in your ballot can lead to it not being fed correctly into the voting machine. Same goes for liquid damage to your ballot.
What IS Allowed
If you make a mistake on your ballot or it becomes damaged, you can request a new one from your county election office or polling place. Here are several of them:
- Missoula County Elections
- Ravalli County Elections
- Lake County Elections
- Granite County Elections
- Powell County Elections
All this information and more are included in your 2022 General Election Voting Instructions pamphlet from MT Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen. If your county votes by mail, you will have received one with your ballot.
I spilled coffee all over mine, but it's not going through a voting machine so it's fine.