If a Bozeman legislator gets his way, some Montanans will need to get a different form of identification in order to vote. In Montana a voter can go to polls and cast their ballot if they have a driver’s license, a school ID, a tribal or military ID, a passport or any other official documentation that includes the voter’s name and address. MT State Representative Ted Washburn (R-Bozeman) wants to limit the eligible forms of ID to driver’s licenses, state issued identification card and tribal identification cards. He presented his bill before the House Administration committee on Thursday and no one stood up to support it.
However more than 20 people lined up to testify against it saying the bill would suppress the votes of elderly, disabled and rural Montanans. Montana League of Women Voters President Nancy Detrick says getting a new form of identification could be troublesome to many Montanans. “The burden would be greatest for citizens whom it is most cost prohibitive or inconvenient to take off work, get transportation, and stand in line and apply for documentation,” Detrick testified.
The language in House Bill 108 states the intention of the bill is to “deter voter fraud” and “maintain the integrity of Montana’s elections.”
“It’s important that everyone gets the right to vote that is a Montana citizen and that’s the purpose of this bill,” Washburn said. Washburn has also introduced House Bill 30 to eliminate same day voter registration.
State Representative Bryce Bennett (D- Missoula) says the combination of these bills are an assault on Montana’s fundamental right to vote. “These bills send a scary message to the people of Montana,” Bennett said in a press conference. “They seek to divide us by saying that some people should have more access to the polls than others and those aren’t the values that we have in Montana.”