Voting Reform Laws Get Struck Down

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( – On Wednesday, the Montana Supreme Court ruled that the state Legislature’s voting reform laws that had been passed in 2021 would need to be stricken down as they were in violation of the right to vote. 

The ruling reaffirms a lower court ruling that had determined that four voting-related bills that had passed during the Legislature session in 2021 were unenforceable and unconstitutional. 

The case combined the challenge brought forward by a number of young organizations, the Montana Democratic Party, and other Native American-focused organizations all of whom had brought the legal challenge against Montana Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen. 

Out of the four bills one had blocked voter’s ability for same-day registration while also closing registration to the day before the election prior to midday. However, the lower court had found that thousands of people used same-day registration and that it was a very popular choice. The state’s high court agreed with that opinion pointing out that it interfered with “fundamental voting rights.”

One of the laws also prevented those who would be 18 on election day but were 17 ahead of it from receiving and voting using an absentee ballot. However, this goes against the current state law which allows mail-in voting for voters who would be 18 on election day. 

The law also prevented a different law that blocked the usage of student ID as an acceptable form of identification, pointing out that this would limit voter’s opinions. 

Finally, the fourth law requires the secretary of state to adopt rules that are going to block the paid collection and submission by individuals or groups of absentee ballots. However, as the court determined this practice was particularly popular in locations where polling places were too far away, or by people who had disabilities. 

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