Montana Open Primary

There are a variety of ways states narrow the field of candidates: closed primaries, open primaries, semi-open primaries, or caucuses. Montana conducts open primaries which means voters have the choice of which party ballot to vote. Whether you receive your ballot in the mail or appear at a polling place, you will receive a ballot for each party. BUT, you can only choose one to vote. In Montana, voters are not required to declare a party as party registration is public information and could compromise your secrecy. This practice goes back to the Butte Copper Kings who tried to influence voters with whiskey and cigars to swing an election. “At that time, people’s votes were not secret as they are now, so Daly could easily find out how his employees voted. The voters were so enraged at this obvious control that in 1889 Montana became one of the first states in the union to adopt the secret ballot."