Tag Archives: same day voter registration

Sandy Welch, and the Ruse

The GOP is asking for a recount in the state superintendent’s race, for what appears to be part of a high-intensity push to create a climate for passing voter suppression laws in Montana.

The Associated Press reported this week that the national Republican Party gave Sandy Welch (who ran against popular dem Denise Juneau) $100,000 to pay for the recount and another $100,000 to hire GOP lawyer behind Citizens United, James Bopp to sue for a recount (one she can’t win).

Bopp is an infamous national GOP lawyer who has been called “Public enemy No. 1 for fair elections,” and has worked for dozens of extreme-right groups.  He appeared on the recent Frontline expose of dark money groups in Montana, saying he is working to eliminate or significantly loosen campaign spending limits and to eliminate donor-name-reporting requirements.

Here’s what’s odd: Welch can get a recount without her costly lawsuit, for a $100,000.  She is allowed by law to buy a recount, in essence.   But she admitted yesterday that she’s now invested $200,000, half on the fancy lawyer and lawsuit, and half on the recount cost.   In the lawsuit, she is asking to get her recount cost refunded if she wins. But that still leaves a grand total investment of $100,000.  So why the lawsuit?

Because the GOP wants it in the air, while they try to pass new laws that restrict voting rights, like same day registration, early voting, mail voting, etc

The GOP’s future, given the trends, is looking bleak.  Not just a more liberal electorate, but a wild gang of libertarian voters defecting at a rate of anywhere from 4 to 7 percent in statewide elections.   The Rs are now seeing that they must find a way to balance the scale.  So they will try to minimize votes from elderly, Indians, poor, young and other voting blocks.

To do that, they’ll need to convince the legislature that there were “irregularities.”  Part of this will involve deceiving the press and the public that the last election was fraught with problems and “fraud.” Hence the $100,000 lawyer.

As the Billings Gazette reports, Welch already alleges

numerous examples of alleged vote-counting errors across the state on Nov. 6, including ballots jamming in electronic counting machines, re-marking of ballots that were run through the machines multiple times, failure to give voters new ballots to replace spoiled ballots, and ballots that weren’t officially stamped.

The recount will allow the GOP to paw through every single ballot cast, to find examples of what they’ll call “fraud.”

Perhaps the Montana GOP is taking a cue from Florida Republicans, who admitted last week that the voting restrictions they passed after the 2008 elections were specifically designed to keep Democratic turnout low:

Wayne Bertsch, who handles local and legislative races for Republicans, said he knew targeting Democrats was the goal[….]

Another GOP consultant, who did not want to be named, also confirmed that influential consultants to the Republican Party of Florida were intent on beating back Democratic turnout in early voting after 2008.

[…]A GOP consultant who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of retribution said black voters were a concern. “I know that the cutting out of the Sunday before Election Day was one of their targets only because that’s a big day when the black churches organize themselves,” he said.


GOP: “We can’t win, so let’s change the rules”

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.

Call to Erect Voting Roadblocks Amplified

Usually when conservatives promote voter surpression tactics, they are smart enough to pretend their proposals are about “preventing voter fraud.” Not so with the Flathead Daily Inter Lake.

This paper’s world-class editorial department today  penned a “lament” that the people of Montana are able register and vote on election day.

First, the Inter Lake is outraged because it takes longer to count votes when more people cast them:

Election Day always has its share of surprises, but in Montana perhaps the biggest one was just how long it took to find out who won and who lost.

Whats more, these great minds opined, allowing people to register and vote after some arbitrary deadline supposedly “hindered the work of Election Department officials”  –as if these aren’t the people we taxpayers have hired perform these exact duties.

For those not involved with running the Daily Inter Lake, the GOP’s voter surpression strategy is actually pretty easy to understand.

Putting up roadblocks to voting suppresses turnout primarily among minorities, the lower-income earners, and the young, and these are well-known Democratic-leaning constituencies. The fewer the people that get to vote, the easier it is for them to put sub-par candidates in positions of power.