A Senate Bill that would let counties hold a presumptive special election by mail ballot came under criticism Monday by a lawmaker who feared it would not be fair to people who live on reservations who vote at satellite offices. Rep. Sharon Stewart-Peregoy, D-Crow Agency, told members of the Senate State Administration Committee that the proposal known as Senate Bill 305 at the behest of the Montana Association of Clerks and Recorders was another example of suppressing the Native American vote. She said tribes have undergone litigation with counties in order to get equal access to the polls through satellite offices. “I highly oppose it as it is a form of suppression in my district,” Stewart-Peregoy said, adding “this is another example of the government being forked-tongued.”
Cheryl Eagle, a member of Indian Peoples Action, echoed Stewart-Peregoy’s comments, and called the proposal “a serious assault against our rights.”
Stewart-Peregoy was excused from the hearing to go to another committee. However, the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Steve Fitzpatrick, R-Great Falls, said later an amendment had been added that ensured that any settlement between tribes and the Voting Rights Act would be honored. He said he would make sure the bill would address her concerns.
Sen. Dee Brown, R-Hungry Horse, who was chairing the meeting, delayed a vote until Wednesday to make sure the amendment was correct.
Full Article: Lawmaker angry over special elections request.