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Gianforte approves ending same-day voter registration
Gov. Greg Gianforte signed Senate Bill 169 and House Bill to preserve the integrity of Montana's elections. Photo: Office of the Governor

 Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte signed measures to end same-day voter registration and require additional identifying information from those who use a student ID to register to vote. 

Supporters of the bill to end same-day voter registration say it will allow election clerks to focus on the election and mean shorter lines at the polls. 

Opponents argue Montana voters want same-day registration. 

Democrats opposed the additional ID requirement for student voters, saying it will be challenged in court. 

Gianforte says the bills will ensure the continued integrity of Montana's elections. Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen requested the bills.

Gianforte signed Senate Bill 169 and House Bill 176 to, "preserve the integrity of Montana's elections."

SB 169 requires Montanans to provide identification to vote and register to vote. “SB 169 could be the most important bill I ever carry in my legislative career. Election integrity is truly the rock, the cornerstone of our nation, and voter ID is a key component in protecting the integrity of Montana elections,” Sen. Mike Cuffe said.

HB 176, "respects local election officials and Montana voters by ensuring that election day is focused solely on voting and counting ballots,” Rep. Sharon Greef said. “Voters can still register up until the day before the election. This will help us conduct elections more efficiently while reducing long lines and voter frustration at the polls.”

“Montana has a long history of secure, transparent elections, setting a standard for the nation,” Gov. Gianforte said. “These new laws will help ensure the continued integrity of Montana’s elections for years to come. I thank Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen, Senator Cuffe, and Representative Greef for their efforts and leadership to ensure our elections are fair and free of fraud.”

The following was sent out by the Office of Governor Gianforte: 

Governor Greg Gianforte today signed Senate Bill 169 and House Bill 176 to preserve the integrity of Montana’s elections.

“Montana has a long history of secure, transparent elections, setting a standard for the nation,” Gov. Gianforte said. “These new laws will help ensure the continued integrity of Montana’s elections for years to come. I thank Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen, Senator Cuffe, and Representative Greef for their efforts and leadership to ensure our elections are fair and free of fraud.”

A strong advocate of measures that protect the integrity of our elections, Montana Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen added, “Montana sets the standard for elections across the country, however, there is always room for improvement, and voter ID and voter registration deadlines are best practices in protecting the integrity of elections.”

Sponsored by Senator Mike Cuffe (R-Eureka), Senate Bill 169 requires Montanans to provide identification to vote and register to vote.

Identification options include a Montana driver’s license, a tribal photo identification card, a state identification card number pursuant to 61-12-501, and a military identification card, among others.

“SB 169 could be the most important bill I ever carry in my legislative career. Election integrity is truly the rock, the cornerstone of our nation, and voter ID is a key component in protecting the integrity of Montana elections,” Sen. Cuffe said.

The governor also signed House Bill 176, sponsored by Rep. Sharon Greef (R-Florence), which closes late voter registration at noon the day before the election.

With this new law, Montana joins nearly thirty other states without election day voter registration.

“HB 176 respects local election officials and Montana voters by ensuring that election day is focused solely on voting and counting ballots,” Rep. Greef said. “Voters can still register up until the day before the election. This will help us conduct elections more efficiently while reducing long lines and voter frustration at the polls.”

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