A bill to end voter registration on the Friday before Election Day drew widespread opposition Monday from the state’s chief election official and groups representing Indians, disabled people, women, seniors, union members and others. In all, 20 people testified against House Bill 30, by Rep. Ted Washburn, R-Bozeman, while two people spoke in favor of it. It would end voter registration at 5 p.m. on the Friday before Election Day, which is the next Tuesday. The House State Administration Committee took no immediate action on the bill.
A 2005 Montana law allows people to register to vote up until 8 p.m. on Election Day. Since then, a total of 28,329 people have registered and voted on Election Day in elections, Secretary of State Linda McCulloch said.
Republicans have tried to reverse the law ever since, while Democrats have defended it. In 2011, the GOP-controlled House and Senate passed a similar bill, but it was vetoed by then-Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat.
Washburn and two supporters contended ending same-day voter registration would make it easier for election officials to do their jobs on Election Day and prevent potential fraud.