Helena YMCA
For Youth Development, For Healthy Living, For Social Responsibility
Every day is full of potential
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About Elections

About Elections:

We have our Primary Election on Monday afternoon and our General Election on Tuesday night (during the Banquet and Dance). Our elections are open to all youth participants. Just like the real elections process in the state of Montana, our primary is a closed party primary, where people choose and vote only one ticket, with party affiliation chosen on a secret ballot. Our General Election, where people can vote for the candidate of their choice from either party, also includes awards voting for outstanding legislators, reporters, lobbyists, and other honors.

Here is how the elections process works:

  • Rule #1: Please do not place anything with an adhesive on any surface at the Capitol; it is an historic building and adhesives of any sort can harm the surfaces there. Be respectful with campaign materials.
    Rule #2: Be ethical and honorable. No negative campaigning. Promote yourself honestly, don't run down others.
    Rule #3: Place posters only in designated areas.
    Rule #4: Pick up your campaign materials after the elections. Don't create litter.
  • Create a campaign strategy. How will you let people know you are running? There are several ways to advertise. You may try any of the following:
    • flyers distributed to participants
      buttons or stickers for your supporters!
    • You may put up a maximum of 2 posters. They may be placed on the bulletin
    • boards in the Snack bar area or as stand-up posters along the sides of the stairways.
    • Other goodies and doodads costing less than 5 cents each.
    • Best of all: talk to people and ask them to vote for you!
  • File for Office: At registration on Sunday afternoon, you pick up a nomination petition at the elections table. You declare your party affiliation, the office you are running for, and, if you are running for Governor or Lt. Governor, you also name your running mate. The deadline for filing will be announced ahead of time.
  • Attend the candidate's workshop. This workshop is mandatory.
  • Get Nominated: You have to obtain 30 signatures on your nomination petition from other registered student participants representing at least four different delegations. Be sure to turn in your petition by the announced deadline, which is usually about the time the party caucuses meet.
  • Give a Primary Election Speech: During the Sunday party caucuses, you will give a ONE MINUTE campaign speech to members of your party. (Third party candidates, if any, may also speak with schedule and place to be decided by the program staff)
  • Meet the Press: There will be a press conference for all candidates on Sunday evening and the press will publish a voter's guide based on these interviews on Monday prior to the election.
  • Promote Your Candidacy: You may hang up posters, and/or hand out flyers, pins, badges, or other small inexpensive items (guideline: items should be less than 5 cents each!) Don't forget to introduce yourself to people and shake hands!
  • "Smile and Wave": During either the Sunday or Monday joint session, (see the schedule when it is released) you will have a chance to be introduced to everyone. Don't forget to stand up and wave so everyone knows who you are!
  • Vote in the Monday afternoon primary election. You will be running against other candidates in your own political party.

If you win the Primary, you advance to the General Election!

For the General Election:

  1. More of the Same: Winners of the Primary will have another press conference, may keep their posters up, distribute more doodads, and keep on campaigning!
  2. Fire Up the Troops: Be prepared to speak briefly at your party's Tuesday caucus to help fire up the people in your party to stick together and vote for you. Reach out to those people you defeated in the primary and invite them to unify behind your candidacy.
  3. The short speech: You will get to give another ONE MINUTE speech during the Tuesday Joint Session.
  4. The BIG speech: You will get to give a THREE MINUTE speech at the Tuesday night banquet, plus you will be subjected to:
    1. The Candidates' Forum: The current Youth Governor will moderate questions from members of the audience. By tradition, these questions will cover both serious issues and a few humorous inquiries (for example, "What do you think about instituting a sales tax in Montana?" or "If you were a fish, what kind of a fish would you be, and why?").
    2. Vote in the Tuesday night General Election, held after the speeches during the dance.

If you are elected...

  1. The Youth Governor receives a partial scholarship toward attending the National YMCA Youth Governor's Conference held in Washington, DC in mid-June. The Governor is also an ex-officio member of the Montana YMCA Youth and Government Program Board of Directors for the year s/he serves.
  2. The Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate receive partial scholarships toward attending the YMCA Youth Conference on National Affairs (CONA) held in Black Mountain, North Carolina in late June.
  3. Other interested elected officers will receive partial scholarships toward attending the YMCA Youth Conference on National Affairs (CONA)
  4. All officers will participate in meetings to help organize next year's Youth and Government Program.



Mon-Fri: 5:30 AM-9 PM
Saturday: 8 AM-3 PM
Sunday: 11 AM-3 PM
Summer Hours : Closed Sunday Memorial Day-Labor Day

Holiday Schedule

Drop-In Day Care Hours

Mon-Fri: 8:30 AM-1:00 PM
Ages 3 months to 8 years

Helena Family YMCA

1200 North Last Chance Gulch
Helena MT 59601
Phone: (406) 442-9622
Fax: (406) 442-2577