Voting? We Can’t Have Too Much of That…

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House Republicans are introducing two bills today to help restrict access to voting by eliminating Montana’s highly successful same-day registration.

Tom McGillvray (R-Billings) wants to restrict registration to four days before an election and require “proof of citizenship,” in the form of a birth certificate, passport, or tribal ID card. Rick Jore (Crazy-Ronan), wants to limit registration to 14 days before an election.

Both proposals are not only unnecessary, but unfortunate. McGillvray’s rationale for the bill is nothing more than conjecture and speculation:

McGillvray said the long lines in some counties this past Election Day opened the door for potential voting problems, including campaigning at the polls. McGillvray said he heard of campaigns offering water and sandwiches – and campaign materials – to people waiting in line.

These allegations would have been violations of existing law. Had McGillvray or Jore any proof that abuses occurred during the last election, the bill might be worth considering.

Republicans have traditionally opposed efforts to make registration easier, whether it was Motor Voter or same day registration? Why? The more people who vote, the worse it is for them.

It still wouldn’t be a good idea, though. Terry Kendrick, of Montana Women Vote said that 3,500 Montanans registered and voted on Election Day last November. Isn’t that a positive development? Why should the legislature act in a way that will make it less convenient for voters to get to the polls and express their opinions?

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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jhwygirl
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jhwygirl

The idea that we need voter registration reform “in an effort to deal with long lines” – as the Missoulian put it (perhaps alluding, poorly, to McGillvray and Jore’s justification for the introduction of their bills) – is ludicrous.

We’ve had one election with the new law. No one would have expected it to go off without issues – but did we have problems? Evidence of fraud?

Do you know how this did in committee today?

Clark Bar
Guest

Well, they’re right. Same day registration has increased voter fraud in every state that has tried it. Examples: the poll at Marquette in 2000 that showed that about 20% of their students voted twice, the Gore campaign worker caught by ABC buying votes from the homeless for cigarettes, etc.

Jason
Guest

Come on…did you get that right off the Republican talking points blog?

The Marquette story has been proven false, despite investigation (http://www2.jsonline.com/election2000/nov00/mccann29s1112800.asp).

And you are not still pushing that Brian Ross story from the 2000 election? First, it was some whack volunteer, not the damn campaign. Second, if it were true, I suppose bribing someone with smokes is more honest than bribing with campaign donations.

Quote as many fear tactics as you want: more voters voting = good.

Clark Bar
Guest

The Marquette story hasn’t been proven false by any means. The DA brushed it off because he didn’t find anyone who voted in their hometown and in Milwaukee. That’s some in depth investigation right there. The whole reason people were getting away with it was because students were voting in Milwaukee and then simply using their fake ID at another polling station in the same city. Pretty damn easy to do, especially under Wisconsin’s law. Note that the reason the poll was taken in the first place was because of the student who bragged to the media that he voted… Read more »

James
Guest
James

From the original post… “McGillvray’s rationale for the bill is nothing more than conjecture and speculation:”.. There is this that no one’s mentioned… “The secretary of state’s office wants early voting and registration cut off the Friday before a Tuesday election to make sure election officials can maintain proper lists at the precincts of who has already voted. Jore’s bill as written would cut off early voting and registration 14 days before the election.” As mentioned in the article: Chief of staff for Republican Secretary of State Brad Johnson, Mark Simonich, stated that Election Day 2006 was “somewhat chaotic” because… Read more »

Jason
Guest

Brett: I think the absence of proof, would, indeed. make the Marquette story less valid. You went to college: because some jackass is bragging about this or that does mean jack. I think the similarity between James and Brett’s argument here is that can’t show fraud happened in Montana because of this law. I am certain that Brad Johnson (who is spewing the party talking points, despite his promoting the rules before the election) is dedicating a lot of resources to dig up proof of the fraud (it would certainly take the heat off his office for the horrible job… Read more »

The Polish Wolf
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The Polish Wolf

Same day voter registration ’causes’ fraud only in that it requires the state to expend more resources. That’s why Montana had huge poll lines, and why we didn’t know who won the senate until 5 am. Fraud is easier when voting is easier, obviously, but the answer is not to make voting harder, but to step up enforcement so that voting fraud is harder.

Clark Bar
Guest

Here’s how I’ll put it to you. First, I resent the implicatication that the opposition to same day voter registration has anything to do with not wanting people to vote. There is absolutely no denying that the legal ability to register on the day of the election makes fraud easier. The state would have to expend more resources, but regardless, the incidence of fraud is going to increase, plain and simple. So you have two countervailing interests at stake: ease in voting vs. security of the system. Are you really going to tell me that it’s too much of a… Read more »

Jason
Guest

The “countervailing interests” rhetoric is interesting, only if there is a dramatic, significant and compelling cause of fraud. Just because it is easier, doesn’t make it so. Proof? Still lacking…

walt
Guest
walt

Why should we have same day registration? Here in the state of Montana there are other benefits that only come after a period of residence. Those who attend the universities here are certainly eligible to absentee ballots in their home counties or states. Others who don’t care enough to actually take care of it ahead of time don’t deserve same day registration.

Erick Imig
Guest

Very interesting subject, thanks for posting.

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