Montana’s state legislature has a great history of diversity. Jacob Bachmeier, age 18, became the youngest person to be elected to public or federal office when he was added to the Montana House of Representatives in 2016. Jeannette P. Rankin was the first woman to hold federal office in the United States. Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican from Montana in 1916, and again in 1940, Rankin was made famous for her stand against the United States’ participation in both World War I and World War II. She claimed, “I want to stand by my country, but I cannot vote for war.” These examples and more detail the diversity and passion of the Montana State Congress.
The Montana State Senate consists of 50 Senate seats. On a four year basis, each Senate seat is vacated for re-election. The entire Montana Senate is structured on a rotating system in which half of the seats are offset by two years, resulting in 25 elections every two years.
The election occurs in three steps. The first step is the filing deadline. Every candidate wishing to run for the Montana Senate must file for election by Monday, March 9, 2020. Filing consists of meeting the constitutionally required parameters that state, “[The candidate must be] 18 years of age, a U.S. citizen, have resided in the state for at least one year preceding general election, and a resident of county (or of the district if it is a multi-county district) for 6 months preceding general election.” Hopeful candidates must also pay the $15 filing fee.
The second step in the election process is the party primaries. In order to raise a candidate for general election, each political party must participate in the primaries to narrow the candidates down to one per party. This year’s party primaries are scheduled for June 2, 2020.
The third and final step in the election process is the general election, in which the candidates from each political party run against each other to win the majority vote. The candidate with the majority vote on November 3, 2020 will be sworn in as the senator of their district for the next four years.