The Montana House of Representatives debated and passed a referendum on Tuesday which would eliminate same day voter registration. Senate Bill 405 lets voters decide if they want people lining up on election day and registering to vote. Republicans say same day voter registration is a bad idea, saying it contributes to long lines, chaos at the polls, and plus they say voters should be more organized and get their paperwork filed early.
“We are looking at increasing the integrity of the vote because we are trying to get all the people registered on the last Friday before election. We are trying to concentrate on the large crowds that come out. Some times it takes four to six hours to try and get them registered and trying to get them into vote,” said Rep. Ted Washburn (R-Bozeman).
Democrats argue by getting rid of same day voter registration, it suppresses the voice of Montanans who want to engage in democracy. They say many people think they are registered, show up to vote and find out their paperwork didn’t go through, so they need an option.