SB441, which proposes to revise absentee and mail-in ballot laws, radically alters Montana’s ballot collection options. Currently, in addition to family members, ballots can be collected and taken to the election offices by acquaintances, caregivers and /or others living in the household. SB441 eliminates all non-family ballot collection options other than legal guardian. If the bill passes, only those related to the voter by marriage, by blood or adoption, or the legal guardian would be able to collect and deliver a ballot.
As leaders in Montana’s civil sector, MNA opposes a bill which would severely impact citizen participation in democracy. In 2019 and 2021, similar laws were passed which were subsequently struck down in Montana courts. All Montanans eligible to vote should be encouraged to participate in elections, not hindered.
Here is our message to legislators:
MNA is OPPOSED to SB441 for these reasons:
- SB441 would make it difficult if not impossible for those living in senior care facilities, those at home who don’t drive, unmarried partners, those living within exterior tribal boundaries and many others to participate in elections.
- Absentee ballots are an option, but they rely on the efficiency of our mail system. They are not the solution nor should they be looked to as a fix for a bill that shouldn’t pass.
- MNA advocates for election security just as we advocate for election participation. We don’t think we should have to choose between the two. Let’s find a better solution.
And a message to our membership:
MNA member organizations represent all walks, mission types and beliefs. In the same way we value and respect the diversity of our members, we are committed to protecting the diversity of voter voices in communities large and small across the state. We are moving this action alert forward quickly hoping that you consider joining us in opposition.
SB441 is being heard on Saturday, February 25 at 9:00 a.m. in State Administration, Room 335. Yes – that’s tomorrow.
Here’s what you can do:
- Please join MNA and others in opposing this bill in person at the Capitol, 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, 2/25. Unfortunately, the deadline to register to testify via Zoom has passed.
- You can also send a message to an individual legislator or all members of the State Administration committee by using this link.
Bills like this have been struck down in the courts twice. We don’t need to re-litigate access to voting. Join us in opposing SB441.