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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Judge strikes down law barring ballot access for some young voters

A mail ballot from the 2020 Montana primary elections.
Nicky Ouellet
/
Yellowstone Public Radio
A mail ballot from the 2020 Montana primary elections.

A Billings district judge Wednesday struck down a state law barring some young voters from accessing a ballot before they turn 18, even if they’d be of legal age on Election Day.

Judge Michael Moses ruled House Bill 506 unconstitutional. In his decision, Moses wrote that the bill “irrationally forecloses an avenue of voting available to all others in the electorate."

Plaintiffs in the suit included Western Native Voice, Montana Native Vote, Montana Youth Action and the Montana Public Interest Research Group, among others.

A spokesperson for the Secretary of State’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Austin graduated from the University of Montana’s journalism program in May 2022. He came to MTPR as an evening newscast intern that summer, and jumped at the chance to join full-time as the station’s morning voice in Fall 2022.

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