HELENA, Mont. — Two controversial voter rights bills are moving through the Montana Legislature.
House Bill 176 would move the deadline for late voter registration to the Monday before Election Day.
Senate Bill 169 revises voter identification laws, updating documentation requirements.
Both bills passed votes on the House and Senate floors Wednesday.
Proponents say the measures would alleviate work for administrators on Election Day and ensure secure elections.
“Identification of voting is crucial to keeping the integrity of our elections,” said State Rep. John Fuller (R-Whitefish).
However, opponents claim they would discourage and prevent people from voting.
“Our current voting requirements in our state are working fine. We had record turnout in the last election because of our fair and inclusive system, and it makes no sense that we are adding additional burdens to that. This will disenfranchise Montana citizens,” said State. Rep. Kelly Kortum (D-Bozeman).
NBC Montana looked at Gallatin County to see how many people use same-day voter registration.
In the past three election years, 718, 584 and 673 residents registered to vote on Election Day -- that’s around 658 people on average each election year.
We asked the county election administrator about the bills, but they said they won’t comment on pending legislation.
Moving forward, HB 176 will be sent to the governor to sign, and SB 169 faces a final vote on the House floor Thursday.