Government

Montana Senate Moves Bill to End Same-day Voter Registration

Montana has had same-day voter registration since 2005 and voters supported its continuation in a 2014 referendum

By Associated Press
The Senate convenes during the Legislature in Helena. Beacon file photo

HELENA — Montana’s Senate is moving forward with a bill to end same-day voter registration.

The bill to close voter registration at noon on the Monday prior to a primary or general election day was endorsed 32-18 on second reading Tuesday.

It faces third reading in the Senate and must return to the House for approval of an amendment that would make the law take effect immediately upon approval.

Montana has had same-day voter registration since 2005 and voters supported its continuation in a 2014 referendum.

Native American lawmakers argued ending same-day voter registration will hurt their turnout because new voters could have to travel twice to elections offices that can be many miles away.

Supporters argue ending same-day voter registration will eliminate long lines on Election Day and allow elections staff to focus on the election. Supporters also argue people can register and vote immediately at a county election office in the 30 days prior to an election.

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