WASHINGTON, D.C. — A controversial new voting bill that would ban caregivers and friends from helping a person deliver their ballot has failed in Montana. The bill did not clear a second vote in the state Senate, leading Senate Republicans to table the bill indefinitely. With a two-thirds majority vote required to revive the legislation, this latest move effectively kills the bill.
House Bill 406 was met with opposition from many sides. Voting rights advocates argued that the practice of community ballot collection is especially important for older, disabled and rural voters and the significant Native population in Montana, many of whom live hundreds of miles from polling places. The bill is extremely similar to legislation that a judge struck down last fall after ruling it violated people’s right to vote. County clerks and election administrators took issue with H.B. 406 as well, alleging it would cost almost $500,000 for each county to put into place before spring elections — imposing a significant cost on 53 out of 56 of the state’s counties.