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Lawsuit Argues New Law Puts Voting Burden On Native Americans

Claiming that the new voting rules resemble a modern day poll tax, the Western Native Voice organization commends Montana’s Democrats for filing a lawsuit to challenge recently passed new voter ID laws in the state.

“We certainly agree with the premise behind the lawsuit,” Keaton Sunchild, political director for Western Native Voice, said.

Montana Democrats are requesting that a judge overturn a law that ends Election Day voter registration. In the lawsuit filed against Montana Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen, the Montana Democratic Party notes that laws place unconstitutional burdens on the right to vote for Native Americans along with students and the elderly.

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte has signed the bills into law.

Sunchild said his biggest concern with the new voter ID law is that it takes away the free option voting registration card. “If you’re lower income, it can affect your ability to vote,” Sunchild said.

He added that Western Native Voice is also considering filing a lawsuit. Officials have held conversations with some tribal boards about the possibility of the action.

“We certainly agree with the lawsuit,” Sunchild said.

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., told the Northern Plains Independent, “Access to the ballot box is something our men and women fight and die for every day. It is critically important that we work to make voting as easy as possible. Voting fraud simply does not occur in Montana. Voting is a right — and it’s the ability for people to make sure that their voices are heard. We should not be restricting the ability to vote in our state.”

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont, made statements in support of the new voting laws on the Senate floor.

Daines said, “Mr. President. Montanans want election integrity. They want to trust their elections and yet Leader Schumer continues to undermine their direct appeal to put commonsense prac- tices in place. In Montana, we want everyone legally allowed to vote to be able to, and we want there to be zero doubt that those votes count. All Montanans, Republicans and Democrats, should have faith in our elections. Mr. President. Montana’s legislature, Montana Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen and Montana Governor Greg Gianforte wanted to strengthen this trust, and that’s what they did with these commonsense bills. The distortion by Democrats in this country is eroding this trust. This must stop.”

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