Coward Knudsen Kills Mail-in Ballot Bill(SB305)

Republican leader Knudsen suppresses Montana voters

Republican leadership gave a resounding endorsement of voter suppression on Friday by voting down a mail ballot bill for the special U.S. House election being carried by a member of their own party.

After SB 305 failed to move from the House Judiciary committee on Wednesday, Rep. Geraldine Custer, R-Forsyth, attempted to revive the bill on the House floor Friday afternoon. But the bill failed to get the three-fifths majority needed to remove it from the committee where it was originally sent by House Republican leadership to die.

SB 305 is the Republican-sponsored legislation introduced to make sure this spring’s special Congressional election is conducted as a mail-ballot one in order to increase voter access and save county election officials as much as $750,000 this spring.

SB 305 has bipartisan support, however, Republican leaders like Rep. Jeff Essmann and House Speaker Austin Knudsen are trying to kill the bill. Essmann, chairman of the state GOP, sent a memo around ahead of the bill’s hearing, demanding his fellow party-mates oppose the bill for political reasons.

Even Secretary of State Corey Stapleton has moved to the extreme right on this bill and doesn’t care that he’s creating extra expenses for the 56 county elections officials charged with conducting this special election. During testimony last week on SB 305 he called their estimated costs “hypothetical.”

This was a reasonable and responsible cost-savings measure with bipartisan support as county elections officials face this upcoming special election. Republican leaders, including our own statewide election administrator Corey Stapleton, have shown they are more interested in suppressing voters’ voices rather than listening to them.

Read about the Saga of SB305 here:

The Greatest Story Ever Told – The Saga of SB 305: All Mail-in Ballots or Waste $750,000 Taxpayer Dollars?


12 Comments on "Coward Knudsen Kills Mail-in Ballot Bill(SB305)"

  1. EVERY ‘fiscally conservative’ Republican who vote AGAINST this bill – that enhances democracy AND saves money – should be HELD accountable, especially next election cycle and TOSS them out, make room for democrats, independents and moderate Republicans, not the KKK – ‘King’ Knudsen Klan!

  2. The problem with your argument is that we have been doing mail ballots for 25 years or more with no problems.

  3. I have been voting by mail for years. Very convenient for anyone, especially homebound seniors or disabled individuals who cannot make it to the polls. You can track your vote by logging in to your county election office’s website. It will tell you when the clerk’s office received your ballot and when it was recorded. The GOP always makes a big production about supposedly being “fiscally responsible” and saving taxpayers money. That, among many other of their claims, is blatantly untrue. This is all about Essmann’s warning letter to his party, in other words: voter suppression. Don’t be fooled! They don’t want all Montanans to vote.

  4. Is anyone else tired of, or even worried about where Donald Trump’s frightening lust for power is taking our beloved country? It seems to be as “catching” as the flu for some GOP leaders and wanna-be leaders who are embracing the roles of dictators. The President doesn’t think he has to answer to anyone, so lesser GOP “leaders” must think they do not have to either. The pattern was set in 1930s Germany and, as the saying goes, “Good people stood by and did nothing”. Your article headline is right — cowards are easy to spot. Challenging a coward who is also a bully takes courage like that demonstrated by Rep. Geraldine Kuster. I hope the majority of Montana voters, who know Knudsen and Essmann are actually afraid of how they will vote, will use their courage. Voter suppression is a very serious crime. The only way to beat Knudsen and Essmann at their own diabolical game is to be sure that voter turnout for this special election is overwhelming.

    • Geraldine Custer, Representative from Forsyth:
      ‘I would rather be defeated in a high turnout election, than win in a low turnout election.’

      imo, low turnout elections are targeted by big money and gerrymandered politicians.

    • boB AKA @Gyrogyrloose | April 3, 2017 5:25 PM at 5:25 PM |

      Not only for this election but for every election! If we managed to get even 80% of eligible voters to the polls our democratic republic would look more like a democracy and less like an oilagarchy. (spelling intentional!)

  5. I am getting so tired of the right wing garbage. Why make it easier to vote? Why save $750,000? The answer is: so there is a better chance of voting more right wingers into the U.S. House of Representatives,U.S. Senate, State House, State Senate. . . take your pick.
    When will people wake up and see that their vote does count, that not voting does cast a vote.

  6. Knudsen and Essman have conspired to inflict fiscal damage on every County in Montana. Actions have consequences. Each County will have to account for the costs of the polling place election their actions have required. Funds in every County budget will have to be re-programmed to pay for these election costs. What projects or programs in your County lost funding, or did not proceed as planned to make up the unanticipated costs? The punchline to this horrible act on Knudsen and Essman’s part ought to be a statewide accounting, County by County, of the problems this has caused. Pay attention, journalists and Resistors–tell the rest of the story in June.

    Thanks to the Republicans who came out on the right side of this issue, but these two legislators are yours–this is on you, you made them your leaders.

    • boB AKA @Gyrogyrloose | April 3, 2017 5:32 PM at 5:32 PM |

      and sadly the two worst offenders here are in districts where they will probably run unopposed. I’m working to restore an FDR Democratic Party in the 25th precinct of Flathead County and will soon be knocking on your door-please give me a minute! We need to make it a Party for We the People again and scrap the “3rd way” Clinton/Corporate approach. I can always use help if you’re willing to give a few hours a month stuffing envelopes etc.

  7. What will you be doing on May 25?
    Graduations may occupy some.
    Others will be planning weddings.
    Farmers will be planting. Many will
    be getting boats & travel trailers ready.

    Busy voters might not have time to go
    to the polls. The Secretary of State’s
    VOTER HOTLINE has a solution.
    Call 1-888-884-8683. Voters can get
    an Absentee Ballot, vote at home,
    and then get back to their busy lives.

  8. And, when 90% of Montana’s voters jump on the “Vote by Mail” (common sense) band wagon, what will the Republican leadership have to say? Voter suppression has no place in Montana’s elections. (Also see SB 352 which puts limits on picking up ballots for Grandma, Grandpa and the guy next door with a broken leg….) I would urge all Montanans to “vote by mail”– especially for this election-gAnd send Essmann and Knudsen a message.

  9. boB AKA @Gyrogyrloose | April 3, 2017 5:37 PM at 5:37 PM |

    Gen5 and ppl both hit the nail on the head-EVERYBODY SHOULD REQUEST AN ABSENTEE BALLOT! If you then decide to vote in person you can take the absentee ballot to your polling place and surrender it for a regular ballot.

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