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Fourth Lawsuit Filed Against New Montana Voting Laws

A voter drops off mail-in ballots at the Yellowstone County Court House June 2, 2020.
Nicky Ouellet
Yellowstone Public Radio
A voter drops off mail-in ballots at the Yellowstone County Court House June 2, 2020.

Three groups focused on engaging young people in politics and elections are suing the Montana Secretary of State over three new restrictive voting laws. It’s the fourth lawsuit challenging these regulations.

The new laws in question limit voter identification acceptable at the polls, restrict ballot drop-offs and eliminate same-day voter registration.

All three bills passed during the 2021 legislative session. The suit was filed in Yellowstone County District Court by groups Montana Youth Action, Forward Montana Foundation and the Montana Public Interest Research Group (MontPIRG). They argue the laws unduly burden the constitutional right to vote, without a compelling reason.

Liz Albers with MontPIRG said in a statement her organization will “stand against any attempt to block access to the ballot.”

In a statement, Republican Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen said she will defend the measures, saying Montanans elected her to office knowing she “promised improved election integrity.”

Western Native Voice, the Montana Democratic Party and a group of former state lawmakers are also suing Jacobsen over changes to election laws.

Follow the status of these legal challenges on the Montana Free Press lawsuit tracker.

Copyright 2021 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.

Shaylee is a UM Journalism School student. She reports and helps produce Montana Evening News on MTPR.