Montana voters will decide in November whether to end a nine-year practice of Election Day voter registration for future elections. If the referendum appearing on the ballot as LR-126 passes, the voter registration deadline would move to 5 p.m. on the Friday before Election Day. In 2013, the Republican-led Legislature voted to put the issue on this year’s ballot. Making it a referendum instead of a bill sidestepped a potential veto by Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock. “It’s something that directly affects the voters and the voting process, and I just thought it should be something the people should vote on,” said the measure’s main sponsor, Republican Sen. Alan Olson of Roundup. He said he introduced the legislation after hearing comments about “chaos” caused by Election-Day voter registration.
“It clogs up the system on Election Day,” Olson said. “I feel there’s ample opportunity for people to register by the Friday before elections.”
More than 29,000 Montanans have registered and voted on Election Day since the law went into effect in 2006, according to Secretary of State Linda McCulloch. She supports the current law.