WASHINGTON, D.C. — From Thursday, May 18 to Monday, May 22, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) signed at least five election bills into law. All of the bills passed the Republican-controlled Montana Legislature earlier this month.
- House Bill 196 requires election officials to “begin and continue without adjournment until all available ballots that can be legally counted have been tabulated” and release periodic updates of results to the public on Election Day.
- House Bill 754 makes small tweaks to the voter registration information available to county government election officials.
- House Bill 892 clarifies the penalties for a person to “purposefully remain registered to vote in more than one place in this state or another state any time” and changes the language in other provisions that prohibit double voting. However, it’s unclear if the law also criminalizes voters for failing to note any prior registration addresses on voter registration forms.
- House Bill 947 shortens the time period to bring lawsuits for election law violations from four years to two years after the alleged violation and alters political spending rules.
- Senate Bill 498 focuses on list maintenance processes, with a mixed impact on voters. Previously, voters on the mail-in ballot list who had recently confirmed their addresses were exempt from certain list maintenance procedures. Under S.B. 498, these voters are no longer excluded from possible voter purging. Another provision requires election officials to work with the secretary of state’s office to confirm the voter’s address.