Voting rights lawyer Marc Elias and the Montana Democratic Party have sued Montana state authorities after Republican Governor Greg Gianforte signed two bills into law that impose new voting restrictions in the state. The bills end same-day voter registration and change requirements around voter ID, meaning that now some Montanans will need to present two separate forms of identification before casting their vote. No systematic issues were discovered with the previous voting parameters that were in place in Montana or anywhere else in the country, but Republicans have nevertheless rushed to restrict access to voting.
Montana Democrats are suing the state over two Republican-backed laws that restrict access to voting, claiming the laws violate the state's Constitution by putting unconstitutional burdens on young, low income, disabled and Indigenous voters. https://t.co/XYUIIvvyIH
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 21, 2021
As summarized by Elias’s organization, the new Montana lawsuit “claims that both bills violate the Montana Constitution and asks the court to preliminarily and permanently stop the Secretary of State from enforcing the bills.” Sandi Luckey, who serves as executive director of the Montana Democratic Party, added as follows to CNN:
‘In America, all attempts to silence Americans should be met with an immediate response. The goal of the lawsuit is to stop Republicans from silencing voters, to protect fair elections, and the freedom to vote for everyone in Montana.’
Elias has also helped bring court challenges against new voting restrictions in Iowa and Georgia. In Iowa, among other changes, Republican Governor Kim Reynolds recently signed legislation into law that cuts an hour from the time that polling places are open on Election Day, while in Georgia, Republican Governor Brian Kemp recently signed a bill that imposes new voter ID requirements for mail-in voting. Although no systematic issues were discovered with the electoral system anywhere in the country ahead of the implementation of these new restrictions, turnout surged in 2020 — and now, following high-profile Democratic victories, Republicans are imposing new hurdles.
In Montana, Republican state. Rep. Sharon Greef — who sponsored the legislation that ended same-day voter registration — said that she wanted “to ensure good, clean elections,” which on its own is a remarkably meaningless phrase. How would she define a “good” and “clean” election? There’s no meaningful evidence of systematically “dirty” — meaning corrupted — elections anywhere in the country. Greef added at the time that “election officials should concentrate on one thing the day of the election and that is the election,” but there is no evidence that any systematic problems went unnoticed by Montana election officials. She’s reacting to imaginary problems.
In Georgia, local authorities have faced steep pushback over the state’s new voting restrictions. Major League Baseball even announced that they’d be moving their planned All-Star Game out of the state in protest. Republicans, by and large, just keep metaphorically wringing their hands and pretending that there’s an election security problem where one doesn’t exist.