Montana Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen is appealing all four election-related laws struck down by a state district judge this year.

In an appeal filed Tuesday in the Montana Supreme Court, Jacobsen said she will challenge Yellowstone County District Judge Michael Moses’ Sept. 30 order that found three laws passed by the GOP-dominated legislature in 2021 unconstitutional: more restrictive voter identification requirements; Postponement of voter registration deadline from election day to 12 noon the day before; and prohibiting the collection of paid ballots.

The notice also appeals to the judge’s previous orders in this case, including one that overturned a law that banned anyone who turns 18 before Election Day from receiving a ballot before their birthday.

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Jacobsen is the sole defendant in three separate lawsuits challenging the four statutes. They were consolidated into a single case, with a dozen plaintiffs including the Democratic Party, Native American organizations and several groups advocating for young Montanans.

The Republican Secretary of State had not previously said definitively whether she will bring the case to the state Supreme Court, but has vowed to keep fighting “to make the Montana election the safest and most accessible election in the nation.”

Jacobsen, who was sworn into office alongside the 67th legislature, took a more active role in lobbying for legislation during the 2021 session than her predecessor. Her office was heavily involved in getting voter ID and Election Day registration bills through the process.

All four measures, now invalidated, passed largely partisanly, with Republicans voting overwhelmingly to send them to GOP Gov. Greg Gianforte. Democrats and some GOP lawmakers at the time warned that the electoral reforms would not pass the constitutional scrutiny.

Moses reached similar conclusions last year, noting in July that the provision of House Bill 506, which prohibits voters from casting a ballot before their 18th birthday, violates their voting rights. It applied to those who would reach legal voting age before Election Day.

And after a nine-day trial in Billings this summer, Moses also sided with the plaintiffs in a September order that struck down the other three laws. He found that they violated the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights to vote, equal protection, freedom of expression and due process.

Arlee voters rushed to the town’s senior citizens’ center to vote ahead of the November 8th midterms. The Confederate Salish and Kootenai Tribes have partnered with the county to organize this and other satellite voting sites across the Flathead Reservation ahead of the November midterm elections.



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