MONTANA

 

Candidates

Gov. Steve Bullock to run for Senator. made a good run for the Democratic presidential nominee

Voter Issues

APRIL 2020

• Montana: Republican Secretary of State Corey Stapleton says that all 56 Montana counties plan to conduct the state's June 2 presidential and downballot primaries by mail, an option that Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock recently made available.

MARCH 2020

• Montana: Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock has told county election officials that they may conduct the state's June 2 presidential and downballot primaries entirely by mail. Voters would be sent ballots with postage-paid return envelopes, and they'd also be able to vote in person during the state's early voting period, which runs for 30 days leading up the primary.

 

• Montana: The ACLU has filed a lawsuit in state court seeking to overturn a constitutional amendment that Republican legislators passed and voters approved in 2018 to limit who can turn in someone else's absentee mail ballot, saying that it illegally discriminates against Native American voters. The lawsuit argues that the amendment violates a number of protections in the state constitution, including the right to vote, freedom of speech, freedom of association, and due process.

The amendment makes it a felony to turn in someone else's absentee ballot unless the person doing so is the voter's family member, caregiver, household member, or acquaintance, and even those individuals may turn in no more than six others' absentee ballots. Only postal workers and election officials are fully exempt.

Montana is one of a few states that lets voters opt into permanently receiving an absentee mail ballot in all elections, which is intended to make it easier to vote, and most voters cast their ballot that way. However, because many Native Americans living on remote reservations lack reliable postal service and access to transportation, many ask others who do not face such barriers to turn in their ballots for them. Plaintiffs noted that get-out-the-vote organizers often collect 80 or more ballots each.

Neither liberals nor conservatives hold a reliable majority on Montana's Supreme Court, making it uncertain how the justices would rule if this case eventually reaches them.

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