The Billings Gazette editorial blasting my opposition to SB305 is alarmingly short on facts. The only voters being suppressed under the bill are those that want to vote at the polls to ensure their ballot makes it to the ballot box and is counted. SB305 would actually reduce voter choice and require all voters to vote by mail thereby reducing ballot security and increasing the opportunity for ballot interference.
There were numerous reports last October of voters calling election officials and law enforcement to complain about strangers, some with out of state plates, collecting their ballot and then interviewing them about how they had voted. One example was documented by Montana law enforcement in Livingston when a Montana Democrat Party operative carrying a bag fraudulently labeled “city of Livingston” was caught going door-to-door taking ballots and then interviewing about how the ballot was cast.
As the press reports related, these voters were concerned about their vote being suppressed by not being delivered to the election office securely. As a result the former secretary of state was forced to remind people that no one should give a ballot to a stranger.
SB305 would expand the opportunity in this upcoming special election for nihilist, progressive anti-Trump fringe groups to collect ballots and interfere with the vote. They have already announced their intention to manipulate the election and support the forced mail ballot approach as one of their tactics.
Democrats are howling now that their dream goal of forcing all people to use mail ballots under the guise of saving money while increasing their opportunity for ballot interference has been exposed.
The charge that the Montana Republican Party favors voter suppression flies in the face of facts that demonstrate that the opposite is true. We believe that more engagement in the electoral process is important, but it shouldn’t come at the price of compromising election integrity and ballot security, or taking away the ability of each voter to choose how they want to exercise their right to vote.
Vote No on SB305.
By: Representative Jeff Essmann.
Jeff Essmann serves as the Representative for House District 54 in Billings and is the Chairman of the Montana Republican Party.