The right to vote and express your opinion politically is important to all Americans and House Bill 406 goes directly
against this. However, not all Americans have equal access to submitting an absentee ballot for their voices to be heard. Native Americans living on reservations or people in rural areas do not always have a way to return their absentee ballot. Ballot collection services are a great and accessible way for everyone to submit an absentee ballot. For example, many people rely on Western
Native Voice, an organization that offers ballot collection on all seven of Montana’s reservations that many Native Americans rely on to collect their ballots.
On top of this, ballot collection services across the state help students on college campuses turn in their ballots who may not have a car or nearby election office to submit their ballot. Even in lower income parts of Montana, ballot collection services are an easy and reliable way for people who lack access to turning in their ballots to do so.
Barring these groups from collecting ballots not only further silences Montanans’ voices but has also been decided as unconstitutional in the past. The courts struck down the Ballot Interference Prevention Act just last year, citing it as being unconstitutional. HB 406 is another version of this unconstitutional act attempting to yield the same results and trying to further harm election integrity in the state of Montana.
Bozeman Daily Chronicle Letter to the Editor 4/3/21