Montana Legislature Montana Politics

Thanks Montana GOP for making it harder to vote

This will be short. There’s a school election today in Missoula, and other Montana cities and towns.

I filled out my ballot. I also grabbed my wife’s completed ballot, and my daughter’s and son-in-law’s (they all work, a lot) and my aged mother’s (who just had knee surgery). That means I have to fill out four lines on the Ballot Collector Information sheet.

This new addition to your ballot is courtesy of the Montana Republican Party because if anyone knows how to ramp up a nonissue, that’s the group. Have there been any ballots in Montana elections picked up by family, friends or even strangers that have been altered, destroyed or didn’t (intentionally) make deadline? Not that I’m aware of. Will there be ballots delivered this election cycle by any of the above mentioned folks that may not be counted because they failed to fill out the paperwork, or did it incorrectly? It’s certainly a possibility.

It’s not a huge deal for me since I’m familiar with the new law. It took me an extra five minutes. But still, the “Montana Ballot Interference Act,” as crafted by good ol’ state Sen. Al Olszewski (Republican candidate for governor out of Kalispell) is definitely targeting voters who might have difficulty making it to the polls. That would be our friends on Indian Reservations, the elderly, folks with disabilities, single parents or worker bees who don’t have a lot of spare time — or just people who aren’t aware of the new law — so many of whom are Democrats. That might be the plan.

There’s also the extra cost to counties for printing and processing the Voter Collector Information sheets (thanks again, fiscally responsible Republicans).

Apparently, “ballot harvesting” does occur. It’s when political operatives collect absentee ballots and then don’t turn them in, as happened in North Carolina’s 2018 congressional race.

Here’s how you combat “ballot harvesting” when these scum-sucking dogs pick up others’ ballots and then fail to turn them in: felony charges, stiff fines and jail time. You don’t do it by making it harder for voters to get their ballots to official election sites.

 

 

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

4 Comments

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  • In Ravalli County, I mailed mine in like I do for all elections. I was not aware of this law…I am at work now and can’t research this. I didn’t see any changes on the instructions of my ballot.

    • You should be okay with your mailed-in ballot. It’s when you drop off a ballot for someone else that it gets sticky. Did you not have a sheet enclosed with your ballot with lines to fill out if you’re dropping off someone else’s ballot? In Missoula County, it was a single brown sheet of paper.

  • This bill has added another unnecessary layer to voting and was a solution in search of a problem (If the chicanery exists–and there is no proof that it does in Montana–how does it keep people from throwing away someone’s ballot?) But, first and foremost, voters should know that they can always check on the status of their ballot by going to the My Voter Page at the Secretary of State’s website OR by calling their local election office. If the ballot never arrived, the voter can initiate steps to have that ballot voided and a new one issued. The best defense is an informed voter!

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Pete Talbot

'Papa’ Pete Talbot is first and foremost a grandfather to five wonderful grandchildren. Like many Montanans, he has held numerous jobs over the years: film and video producer, a partner in a marketing and advertising firm, a builder and a property manager. He’s served on local and statewide Democratic Party boards. Pete has also been blogging at various sites for over a decade. Ping-pong and skiing are his favorite diversions. He enjoys bourbon.

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