As usual, Republicans are calling for the rules of a game to be changed, because Democrats play the game better and play it smarter.
Too stupid to know how to organize a get-out-the-vote effort like Democrats with technology, sophistication and smarts, Republicans in Montana (and nationally) are now complaining about the fact that “too many people were voting.
Tom McGilvray, one of the Tea Party’s top imbeciles in Montana, has decided that the sheer numbers of voters in Billings presented a serious problem for Republicans. He is already calling for an end to election day registration and a shrinking of early vote options.
This will be a first order of business for the new legislature and governor, but the GOP will use the occasion–the long lines in certain major cities–to argue that liberalized voting rules have caused the problem. The GOP thinks, perhaps mistakenly, that if it’s harder to vote, they will gain an advantage. They will use this lie to try to get support for rolling back early voting, same day registration, etc.
In fact, what needs to happen is the devotion of more resources to county election offices, sufficient manpower and equipment so that things work smoothly and efficiently on election day. People in Montana are voting in some of the highest numbers in the state’s history. They are engaged, and the GOP doesn’t like that. Republicans did better when more voters were apathetic, and so they want to return to those glory days.
Early voting must remain; vote by mail must increase; and same day registration must remain, because it is an important way of allowing people to vote when they have moved addresses but there’s a glitch in the system, for whatever reason, that hasn’t recorded it properly. In the past, these folks have been turned away. Now with same day registration, they can vote.
An additional idea is to limit the number of referenda that the Montana legislature can submit. The ballot was too long and took people too long to fill out. That’s because the GOP, unable to get past Schweitzer’s veto branding iron, bypassed the Governor with stupid ballot initiatives on things that don’t even affect our state like illegal immigration.
Truth is, Republicans lost the two big statewide races for three basic reasons, which are 1) they had inferior statewide candidates, 2) the Republican brand is in the toilet, thanks in large part to the Tea Party, and 3) they gave away an average of 5 points to the libertarian candidate. Nothing to do with voting, whether early, late or often.
And you can already see the finessing and smoothtalking starting up from GOP lawmakers. Republicans are now saying that they were “unable to work with Schweitzer,” citing as evidence his 80 vetoes of their insane bills, and saying that they “look forward” to having a “working relationship” with the new governor. Had Schweitzer signed their election bills, tens of thousands of Montanans would have waited many more hours on interminable lines to vote, and would then have been turned away. The GOP believes this would have imparted a conservative tilt to the final vote tally.
So let’s not fall for the GOP nonsense. Even Republican state senator Dave Lewis admitted in the press that the reason Schweitzer had to veto 80 GOP bills is that they were awful pieces of legislation.