LR 129, the “Ballot Interference Prevention Act” (BIPA) passed in the November 2018 election. All Montana elections will now comply with the requirements of the BIPA.
- Commissioner of Political Practice's BIPA Policy 5.0
- Secretary of State's BIPA Election Directive
- Ballot Collection Registry form
With the new law, Montanans maintain the right to decide how and when to return their ballot but should be aware of the new ballot collection requirements:
- 1. Any unauthorized person who picks up and delivers another person’s ballot, or a person who drops off ballots without registering with an election administrator, will be assessed a $500 penalty per ballot.
- 2. Ballots can only be picked up and dropped off only by authorized persons. Authorized persons include people with these relationships to a voter:
3. Authorized persons can drop off a maximum of six ballots per election. Any ballots delivered in excess of six ballots may be assessed a $500 penalty per ballot.
- 4. A ballot collector who delivers ballots to an election administrator’s office or a designated polling place must register their name and contact information, along with each voter’s name, mailing address, and the voter’s relationship to the collector. Registry options will be available at ballot drop boxes.
- 5. The following groups are excluded from restrictions on ballot collections:
- Election officials, and
- US postal service workers or other individuals specifically authorized by law to transmit US mail.
Roles in BIPA
1. The Commissioner of Political Practices (COPP), in conjunction with county attorneys, is charged to investigate and enforce the BIPA.
2. County election administrators are required to have all ballot collectors register their contact information and each voter's address for every collected ballot on a Ballot Collection Registry form. Forms will then be emailed to the COPP where all registrations will be tracked and publicly maintained.
3. The Secretary of State is responsible for all outreach and education communications to the public about BIPA.
1. If you will be collecting ballots, first, know the above compliance requirements.
2. Then, make sure to have a Ballot Collection Registry form available to collect voters address information when you collect ballots.
3. Contact your local county elections office or the Secretary of State with questions.
4. To file a complaint, fill out the BIPA complaint form and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include all relevant information that pertains to the complaint-related issue or situation.
5. Reference the COPP's 2019 BIPA policy.