Montana House Majority Leader Gordy Vance and the Montana Republican Party are asking voters to consider the pros of LR-126, the ballot measure that would move the deadline for voter registration from Election Day to 5 p.m. the Friday before. “The take from the groups that say it’s bad is based on misinformation and that’s unfortunate, but that’s how folks operate in this arena,” the Bozeman Republican said. In 2005, the Legislature passed Democratic state Sen. Jon Ellingson’s Senate Bill 302, which moved the deadline for voter registration from 30 days before the election to Election Day. The bill had broad bipartisan backing and support from the Montana Association of Clerk and Recorders.
“Fast forward to 2013, when the idea came forward of rolling it back to 5 p.m. on Friday, the clerks, the same association eight years later, were so evenly split that they did not take a stance,” Vance said.
Vance said LR-126 was not an attempt to address voter fraud but rather to reduce the workload of county election officials whose honest mistakes on Election Day can compromise the election process.
“We never even dreamed of saying let’s go back to 30 days. All we’re asking for is giving elections officials a little bit of time to get themselves organized and then on Election Day to focus on what they’re supposed to be doing rather than trying to register people,” Vance said.