Website Doesn’t Reflect Court Ruling on Voter Registration

District Court Judge Michael Moses said same-day voter registration would remain in effect for the June 7 primary election

By Associated Press
A voter drops their ballot into a collection box at the Flathead County Elections Department on Oct. 22, 2020. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

HELENA – Montana’s Secretary of State’s office has yet to update its website to reflect the reinstatement of Election Day voter registration, more than three weeks after a court ruling temporarily blocked a Republican bid to impose more restrictive voting laws.

Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen on Wednesday asked the state Supreme Court to stay the ruling from District Court Judge Michael Moses, saying it upends nearly a year of voter education, election administrator training and rules “that successfully have been applied in three elections over the past year.”

Moses said same-day voter registration would remain in effect for the June 7 primary election because the law that changed it appeared unconstitutional, as did other laws implementing voting restrictions that were passed by the Legislature last year.

In a check on Thursday afternoon, the voter information website still said voter registration ends at noon on the day before Election Day, matching a law passed by the 2021 Legislature at Jacobsen’s request.

Jacobsen also asked the high court to stay Moses’ ruling that temporarily blocks a law that would have required additional information from those wanting to use student IDs as identification when voting.

Implementing the new voting laws and educating citizens about them involved airing more than 32,000 public service announcements on television and radio stations, sending a mailing to every registered voter noting the new registration deadline, issuing updated training materials and changing administrative rules governing elections, Jacobsen argued.

Moses rejected that argument earlier this month, saying “the court does not find it persuasive that the secretary has been taking steps to enact these laws given that is a duty of her job.”

Moses’ ruling also temporarily blocked a law that would have banned the paid collection of voted absentee ballots. Jacobsen is not seeking to stay that ruling.