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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.
With vote counting nearly concluded Montana Republicans eagerly announced their first policy priorities for the upcoming legislative session.
As the Billings Gazettereports, the agenda is focused around making it more difficult to vote.
TEA Party Republican Rep. Tom McGillvray, who is the county campaign chair for failed governor candidate Rick Hill, said he sees a problem with the “crush of Election Day voter registration.” McGillvray says same day registration isn’t fair. Rather, he believes it “makes it difficult ‘to have a fair, orderly election.’”
Joe Bailey, vice chair of the Yellowstone County Republicans also proposed ”cutting off voting at 10 p.m., regardless of how many people are still in line.”
With most polls showing Denny Rehberg trailing Jon Tester by a point or two, or even at best, Rehberg has turned to his old hired hand Erik Iverson to try to turn the campaign around.
Iverson will have to work to erase the damage from a string of recent gaffes by Rehberg, such as telling an audience member at a town hall meeting that he (Rehberg) and his wife are “cash poor,” (when, in fact, Rehberg and his wife own $56 million of real estate, stocks and cash, and his income alone from these investments, along with his congressional salary, averages nearly half a million a year.)
Rehberg’s comment came in response to an audience member suggesting to the congressman that perhaps the congressman would have a different opinion of health reform if he were someone who struggled financially, and were too strapped for cash to be able to afford to see a doctor. Iverson’s job, presumably, will be to keep Rehberg away from town hall meetings.
So Iverson will have his hands full. But Iverson also comes with baggage of his own.
He had a rocky relationship with right-wing conservatives when he served simultaneously as GOP chair and Rehberg’s chief-of-staff. In fact, Iverson may well have been been ousted as chairman by the Koopman-Sinrud wing-nut faction of the GOP, which went after both Iverson and Rehberg when Denny gave Iverson a taxpayer-funded, $31,000 pay-raise. This pay-raise brought Iverson’s salary to $159,828 a year, making him the highest paid staffer in Congress even though he was a relatively young and inexperienced politico.