Friday, April 21, 2017

Montana Republicans Put Price on Keeping Too Many Democrats from Voting

Montana has a Special Election coming up on May 25th to fill Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s former House Seat, and it’s official: Republicans are scared too many people will vote, so much so they think it’s worth $750,000 of State money to keep that from happening. The Republican State House Speaker has blocked a Vote on a Proposal, one that already passed the State Senate, to do a Vote-by-Mail rather than paying for In-Person Voting in the sparsely populated State.

House Democrats tried to force a Vote in late March, because if the Measure passed, there needed to be enough time to Print and Mail all the Ballots. A Party-line vote in the Judiciary Committee tabled the Bill. Rep. Geraldine Custer, a Republican who supported the Measure, tried to salvage it from Committee with a Floor vote, but she fell nine votes short of the 60-vote Super-Majority necessary to bypass the Committee.

Then Gov. Steve Bullock (D) tried to save the Bill with his own maneuver, an “Amendatory Veto,” which essentially added the Language back through a separate Election Bill, putting it back before both Chambers for consideration.

The Legislature is entering its last week, and Knudsen refuses to Schedule a vote. As Speaker, he has the Authority to determine what gets considered and what doesn’t. Even though Custer’s Strategy seemed to show 51 Representatives willing to approve the Measure, it would require another 60-vote Super-Majority to Override Knudsen’s Decision not to schedule a vote, which seems unlikely. The Proposal is effectively dead.

Early on in the process, the State Republican Party Chair left no doubt of why Republicans were concerned about a Mail-in-Vote:

In an email to Party Members, Jeff Essmann warned Republicans the Mail-In Election would “give the Democrats an inherent advantage in close elections due to their ability to organize large numbers of unpaid college students and members of public employee unions to gather ballots by going door to door.”

Darn Democrats with their Volunteers and their Organizing, we better make it harder for them to vote rather than relying on our Message in this significantly Red State.

At the same time, their Candidate in the Race, Greg Gianfurte, is refusing to do town Hall Events, sticking instead to small Events with friendly audiences.

Meanwhile, Democrat Rob Quist is Campaigning hard all over the State.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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