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?