January 14, 2013
CONTACT: Terri McCoy, (406) 444-2807
McCulloch Defends Montanans' Right to Register and Vote
on Election Day; Urges Legislature to Oppose HB30
HELENA, MT – Secretary of State and Chief Elections Officer Linda McCulloch continued her fight to protect voters’ rights by urging the Montana Legislature to reject a measure that would eliminate Election Day voter registration for all Montanans. McCulloch strongly opposed House Bill 30 during today’s hearing before the House State Administration Committee.
“Montana elections are for the voters,” Secretary McCulloch said. “Arguments about workloads and government-imposed timelines are for the bureaucrats. If folks are willing to go down to the election office and wait in line to register to vote on Election Day, the government shouldn’t deny them that right.”
Montana law currently provides for late voter registration, which includes the right to register to vote on Election Day (MCA 13-2-304). Since the law was implemented in 2006, 65,836 Montanans have used it to register and cast a ballot in a statewide election. Of those late registrants, 28,329 registered to vote on Election Day.
“Voters across the state use Election Day registration,” Secretary McCulloch said. “These are responsible and hardworking Montanans who know that their right to vote is protected under current law. As an American, I cannot support a bill that would turn our neighbors away at the polls and deny them their right to vote.”
McCulloch rejects the notion that all late registrants are new applicants. She noted about half of all late registrants in the 2012 General Election were existing voters who had moved and updated the address on their voter registration. Others were Montanans who thought they were already registered to vote when they showed up at the polls.
“Eliminating Election Day registration would eliminate the ultimate fail-safe for administrative errors that can occur at no fault of the voter,” Secretary McCulloch. “It ensures that every voter in Montana has the opportunity to participate in elections and share their voice on state and local issues. It’s a good law and it supports fair and accurate elections.”
Late Voter Registration by House District can be found on the Secretary of State’s website at: sos.mt.gov/ElectionDayRegistrantsByHD08-12.pdf