Federal Legal Action To Stop Montana GOP Voter Suppression Announced

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The Montana state Democratic Party, Montanans for Tester, and a Montana voter have decided to file a federal lawsuit against Republicans for targeting college voters. Senate Bill (SB) 319, the Student Organizing Ban refused to let any political committee or student organization participate in these activities, according to The Democracy Docket:

‘[V]oter identification efforts, voter registration drives, signature collection efforts, ballot collection efforts, or voter turnout efforts for a federal, state, local, or school election inside a residence hall, dining facility, or athletic facility operated by a public postsecondary institution.’

Tester’s lawsuit claimed that the law singled out “college locations but not other public buildings” and was targeting “Montana’s college students:”

‘The suit argues that, by specifically singling out college locations but not other public buildings, this law is intended to limit the organizing efforts and political speech of Montana’s college students in violation of the First, 14th and 26th Amendments. This is the second lawsuit filed challenging S.B. 319; the first lawsuit was filed in state court.’

The Democracy Docket raised an ALERT over the Montana state suppression law:

ALERT: @MTDems

‘SUE Montana over new law #SB319 that bans voter registration and education activities in public college campus buildings. The lawsuit claims that the law targets college students and violates the 1st, 14th and 26th Amendment.’

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Montana voters between the ages of 18 to 29 increased nearly 40 percent in 2020. The lawsuit argued that the law was meant to suppress college students’ “right to vote.”

Tester’s lawsuit requested the court halt enforcement of this law. His press release regarding the effort read, according to The Montana Standard:

‘Free and fair elections are a cornerstone of our democracy, plain and simple. This bill will allow us to maintain local control over our voting systems while keeping our elections safe in the face of new and evolving threats, shine a light on dark money in politics, and close loopholes that allow foreign spending on elections.’

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The press release continued:

‘It’s our responsibility to ensure that every eligible Montanan is able to make their voice heard at the ballot box, and I’m proud to have worked with a wide range of my colleagues to craft legislation that will do just that.’

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In addition, the plaintiffs claimed that the Student Organizing Ban in SB 319 was meant to:

‘[Target] Montana’s college-age voters with surgical precision [and is] designed to limit the ability of newly-enfranchised Montana voters to fully exercise the franchise by limiting the information available to them and by stopping them from engaging in constitutionally protected political speech on college campuses.’

Continue reading the Democracy Docket, Montana below:

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To read the rest of the complaint, go to Democracy Docket, Montana.


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