The City of Belgrade will be conducting a special election on March 3, 2020. Residents of the city will determine whether or not Belgrade will be annexed into the Central Valley Fire Department and dissolve the Belgrade Fire Department. Ballots were mailed on Wednesday, Feb. 12.

In order to be accepted, the ballot must arrive no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day – Tuesday, March 3. For ballots received after this deadline, postmarks cannot be accepted. Be sure to give the U.S. Postal Service enough time to deliver your ballot. Wednesday, Feb. 26 may be the latest date that a ballot should be mailed in order to be received by Election Day.

Ballots can also be deposited at either Belgrade City Hall or the Gallatin County Courthouse in downtown Bozeman during normal business hours. These places of deposit will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Election Day to accept ballots. 

If you are depositing the ballot of another voter, you must complete a Ballot Interference Prevention Act registry form. This form is included with each ballot packet on the reverse side of the standard instructions and is also available at the places of deposit. Do not include this form with your own ballot or a ballot returned by mail. No ballot will be refused for a lack of this documentation.

There are no polling places for this all-mail election. Montana’s mail ballot election laws require that all active voters, regardless of absentee status, receive a ballot in the mail. Voters that had a previous ballot returned as undeliverable (federal law prohibits ballots from being forwarded), or did not vote in the 2018 federal general election, and did not respond to confirmation mailings are currently inactive. To reactivate your voter status, contact the Gallatin County Election Department at 406-582-3060. If there has been no change to your residence address or other registration information, you will be reactivated and a ballot will be mailed to you. If you do not receive a ballot by Friday, Feb. 21, and believe that you are an active 

registered voter, contact the Election Department immediately.

If your voter registration information has changed or you are not registered to vote, Montana law requires that you appear in-person at the election office – 311 W. Main Street, Room 210 – in order to register or update your information. This time period is called “late registration” and begins 30 days prior to the election. Late registration closes at noon the day before the election and reopens again from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Election Day. A ballot will be issued to the voter at the time of late registration.

This is the first election in Gallatin County for 2020. The school and special district election will be conducted by mail ballot on May 5. The federal primary election will be conducted by polling place and absentee ballot on June 2. The federal general election will also be conducted by polling place and absentee ballot on November 3.

The Gallatin County Election Department is ready to serve voters with answers to questions regarding their voter registration status, ballot status, and information about the upcoming elections. The office can be reached at gallatin.elections@gallatin.mt.gov or call 406-582-3060. We encourage voters of Gallatin County to participate in this election and return their ballot in a timely manner. Don’t wait to mail your ballot!

Eric Semerad is the Clerk & Recorder for Gallatin County.