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Letters to the Editor: Voting rights under attack

| February 25, 2021 12:10 AM

Voting rights under attack

As a member of the Democratic Party, Stacey Abrams founded Fair Fight Action, an organization to address voter suppression, in 2018. Quoting Abrams from the Washington Post (Feb. 7, 2021): “Our democratic system faces extraordinary threats today because of sustained attacks from Republican leaders who throw up roadblocks to voting ...”

The Montana State Legislature House Bill 176 to eliminate same-day registration will be heard in the Senate Administration committee on Feb. 17. If signed by Gov.Gianforte it would end same-day registration. Montana has had same-day registration since 2005. In a referendum in 2014 Montana voters rejected by 57% overturning same-day registration.

Voting in Montana can involve traveling miles to register and another trip to vote at county seats. Native American lawmakers said ending same-day registration would hurt their voter turnout, as it would for other rural voters.

I‘ve been a poll worker. It was a simple and easy process to register a voter, with little impact.

Please contact and encourage your local Montana legislators to vote against ending same-day registration. Protect your right to vote.

— Suz Rittenhouse, Polson

Country over party

Maybe Gov. Gianforte’s decision to lift the mask mandate was enough for Canada to tighten up the border the whole length. If so, thank you, Canada, for putting prudence and public safety over politics. How refreshing. Stay tuned and watch this approach continue to work. Level heads will find us the answers we need for dismantling systemic racism, sexism, and all that has kept our Own wisdom away from our Own hearts. No one needs to avoid accountability if they play fair. The impeachment trial was just the beginning of Trump’s legal problems and the split within the Republican party. The acquittal was a total cop-out but at least we won’t be subjected to the Ringling Bros. 100-ring circus. The Senate should fire itself from holding impeachment trials. However, in spite of the defense being the “last three lawyers left on earth” willing to work for Trump, an accurate record of the horror of Jan. 6 was made for the history books. If it could have been an anonymous vote Trump would have been convicted. Whatever and whoever remains a threat would not have been emboldened. Most Montanans want to feel safe without worrying about concealed weapons being carried by the wrong people, for starters. Please, Montana legislators, listen to the voice of Montana and honor it. Forget your lockstep before you trip and fall right out of office.

— Debbie Jakovac, Polson

Vote down HB 176

The Montana State Legislature is considering eliminating same-day voter registration with House Bill 176.

A democracy is about government representing the people. The people express what they want by voting. More voters means more accurate representation. All voters deserve to be represented; any action that limits the number of people who can vote diminishes the democratic process.

If fraud potential is the concern for HB 176, these votes can be cast as provisional votes. This mechanism already exists and will insure integrity by holding the vote until verified. This allows us to address the issue without disenfranchising any Montana citizens.

Montana has allowed same-day voter registration since 2005. Neighboring states Idaho and Wyoming have same-day voter registration. North Dakota doesn’t have registration at all, just identification and proof of residence.

State senators, please oppose HB 176.

— Stephanie Brancati, Big Arm

Honor voters’ will

House Bill 176 would end same-day voter registration, which is a blatant voter suppression tactic. Republicans are attacking the right to vote by making it more difficult for voters who already struggle to access voter registration due to distance, lack of transportation or lack of information.

Montana has had same-day voter registration since 2005. And evidence continues to show that our election system is secure.

In November 2014 an overwhelming 57% of Montana voters defeated the Legislative Referendum 326, which attempted to end same-day voter registration. Montana voters have clearly spoken.

So why now do the Republicans want to overturn this referendum that a majority of all Montanans voted for? If the Legislature and Gov. Gianforte truly represented the people of Montana, they would respect the wishes of the Montana majority and keep same-day registration in place.

We all should be encouraging people to vote rather than attack their voting rights.

— Kathleen Farmer, Polson