On Wednesday, April 13, I proudly joined Gov. Brian Schweitzer as he heated up his branding iron and vetoed House Bill 180, a partisan bill that would have ended Election Day voter registration across Montana.
Hours before the veto was issued, I read a guest opinion in support of HB180. It was written by former Secretary of State Brad Johnson. As I read Johnson’s opposition to Election Day registration, I was reminded of Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry’s infamous 2004 statement, “I was for it before I was against it.”
That’s because Johnson’s office supported the bill that created Election Day registration in 2005, and he touted in the news the beneficial fact that Montana now had a failsafe voter registration system to ensure that any eligible Montana voter could register to vote up until 8 p.m. on Election Day.
Election Day registration was implemented statewide during the 2006 election cycle. As with any big policy change, the new process experienced a few hiccups. But neither voters, nor the county election administrators, were to blame.
Instead, as Montana’s Legislative Audit Division found, during Johnson’s time as secretary of state, there was a large degree of “dissatisfaction with the efforts of the SOS office to plan and implement changes in the registration process.”
Since then, Johnson has flip-flopped on the issue of Election Day registration, even though counties are now successfully administering the process for thousands of voters every year.
Full Article: Existing law good for democracy.