Big Sky Roundup
Stakeholders work to spread news about new voter registration deadline
Voting illustration (Illustration by Getty Images).
Montanans must now register to vote for the June primaries by 12 p.m. on June 6, the day before the primary, following a Supreme Court ruling that struck down a challenge to a law ending Election-Day voter registration.
Efforts to spread the news about the new deadline are underway.
At Western Native Voice, a nonpartisan organization that advocates for Native rights in Montana, hiring has begun to get the word out in rural and reservation communities, which the group says are disproportionately impacted by ending Election-Day registration.
“We are hiring organizers on all reservations and in Billings and Great Falls. We also have our Billings staff doing registration around the state,” said Keaton Sunchild, the group’s political director.
“From the very beginning, we thought that ending Election-Day voter registration would disproportionately affect rural and reservation voter turnout. Nothing we have seen has changed our minds on that,” he said. “The biggest challenge is trying to reeducate a community that just got a good grasp on the election calendar and how important it is to vote.”
Regina Plettenberg, Ravalli County clerk and recorder, said her office has been trying to communicate directly with voters about the change.
“We have been writing articles and putting notices in our newspaper,” she said.
While she said she expects to have to turn away some voters on Election Day, she hopes it won’t be too bad.
“Luckily, with this being a non-presidential primary, there won’t be quite the normal turnout, so I think that will help, but there is always going to be those folks that aren’t aware,” she said.
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.