We Are All Essential

April 6, 2020

 

 

 

By: Corey Stapleton

Syndicated by: Montana News

I haven’t seen most my staff for weeks, now.  Like other government agencies, the Office of the Secretary of State dropped down to a skeleton crew at our Capitol worksite, with most employees now teleworking from home.

But in most ways, our workload has increased.  It’s our busiest time of the year in Business Services division, with business renewals due by April 15th.  Going ‘digital’ in 2017 for Business Services has proven to be one of our wisest strategic decisions, especially in this coronavirus era.

 

Elections division is scrambling with the upcoming June 2nd primary election.  For the second time in three years, the Governor has pushed for all-mail ballot elections—last time by amendatory veto, this time by using his emergency powers during this health crisis.

 

For the first time in Montana history, the June primary election will eliminate in-person voting locations and be conducted primarily through the U.S. Postal service.  Congress also testified last week, though, the U.S. Postal service may go bankrupt by June.  So stay tuned, things could get interesting.

 

For the 200,000+ Montanans who prefer to vote in person, it will be important to visit our website sosmt.gov and verify your information on My Voter Page.  Currently 14,000 voters will not receive a mail ballot, due to a ‘disconnect’ of information—like name changes, address changes, etc.  Please check your info.

 

Lawsuits against our office have increased.  Media requests have increased.  Candidate requests have increased.

Our Office will continue to strive towards immaculate customer service.  These challenging times stretch us all a little thin, whether you work in state government, work in the private sector, or work in your home.

 

We will be waiving late fees on business registrations due by April 15th.  As Montana’s business officer, I know many of Montana’s 170,000 businesses are struggling.  Between now and July 15th our Office will not be charging an extra fee for late filers.  (Usually those fees begin April 16th).

 

Each business in Montana is essential to us, to all of us.  We are all connected in this journey, and we all need each other to keep our country strong, safe and prosperous.

 

 

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