WASHINGTON, D.C. — Democrats have sued the Montana secretary of state over the recent passage of new voter suppression laws. Signed by Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) on Monday, House Bill 176 and Senate Bill 169 eliminate Election Day registration and impose new voter ID requirements that would require many voters, including students, to show two forms of ID when registering and voting. Under the new laws, photo IDs issued by Montana colleges or universities would not count as valid IDs — a change that would impose significant barriers on the state’s student population as they try to make their voices heard.
The new complaint from the Montana Democratic Party filed on Monday alleges that this legislation imposes an undue burden on the right to suffrage, particularly on disabled, young and indigenous voters, and an illegal limitation on the right to vote due to age, thanks to its provisions specifically targeting student IDs. After young voters in the state turned out in record numbers last election, this legislation now targets their IDs and their ability to register on Election Day, which many highly-mobile college students rely on due to their frequent address changes.
The complaint asks the court to rule that these pieces of legislation are unconstitutional and immediately stop the enforcement of the laws by the secretary of state.