Dustin Monroe: Montana bill limits Indian voter participation

Dustin Monroe, a member of the Fort Belknap Indian Community and the executive director of the Western Native Voice, says Montana bill would limit Indian voting participation:
“An Act Revising the Close of Late Voter Registration” is the short title of House Bill 30.

This legislative initiative by Rep. Ted Washburn of Bozeman will change voter registration for Montana elections for the worse by limiting the period of time in which a citizen can register to exercise their right to vote. The main part of the bill will be to close and halt regular voter registration for 30 days prior to an election. From the point of view of Western Native Voice, changing the voter registration period from its current form is bad public policy.

Historically, Native Americans have faced discrimination in Montana, including discrimination that interfered with the exercise of their electoral rights. The current voter registration period facilitates voting through making registration more accessible for all citizens. Simply put, having an open period of voter registration in the run-up to an election enables citizens to better exercise their rights. This is a practical and significant benefit of the longer voter registration period in and of itself. Moreover, for Native American voters in Montana, many of whom already have to contend with other obstacles in casting their vote, the longer voter registration period is particularly beneficial because of the flexibility it offers.

Get the Story:
Dustin Monroe: Bad move to trim voter registration (The Great Falls Tribune 3/18)

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