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Montana Democrats sue state over new political restrictions on college campuses

People walk in front of a grizzly bear statue on the University of Montana Campus.
Freddy Monares
Montana Public Radio
People walk in front of a grizzly bear statue on the University of Montana campus.

The state is facing another lawsuit over a new Montana law that regulates political activity on college campuses.

The Montana Democratic Party, Montanans for Tester and a college student on Tuesday filed suit challenging the law in federal court in Missoula.

The law, passed by the state’s Republican-majority Legislature and signed by Gov. Greg Gianforte, bars political committees from facilitating voter registration, ballot collection and other voter activities in certain areas on college campuses, like dining halls.

The complaint alleges that policy puts “arbitrary, vague and onerous restrictions on the rights of college students,” including their freedom of speech.

Montana Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen and Commissioner of Political Practices Jeff Mangan are named as defendants in the suit. Jacobsen is also facing separate lawsuits from progressive political, youth action and Native American organizations over recent changes to election law.

Jacobsen and Mangan did not respond to a request for comment by deadline.

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.