Voter information pamphlet includes inaccurate information about voter registration
The Montana Secretary of State’s Voter Information Pamphlet may have already landed in your mailbox, but it includes inaccurate information about when people can register to vote and what IDs are acceptable at the polls.
Same-day voter registration is available on Election Day until 8 p.m. and IDs that show a person’s photo and name, like a college student ID, are acceptable at the polls.
The Montana Voter Information Pamphlet printed by Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen’s office says otherwise. It includes information based on laws passed by Republicans during the 2021 legislative session eliminating same-day registration and regulating voter IDs. Jacobsen says the pamphlet was printed before those laws werestruck down in courtat the end of September.
The Secretary of State’s office is legally required to print and begin shipment of the pamphlets 45 days before Election Day, a deadline that came before the court’s ruling.
District Court Judge Michael Moses issued the ruling saying the new policies “severely” restrict Montanans’ right to vote.The Montana Supreme Court had allowed the laws to stand for the state’s June primary, meaning voters will follow different rules for the general election.
Connor Fitzpatrick, elections supervisor with Lewis and Clark County, says he's planning to use signs and materials on Election Day leftover from 2020 to get out correct information. His office is spreading the word on its website, social media pages and by training election workers.
“By keeping all of those avenues open, we can hopefully get as many people in the know about the rules that we’re using as possible,” said Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick says his office has been preparing to deal with changes in election law since the lawsuits were filed last year. But getting updates to voters is a challenge, especially as the office also tries to combat misinformation about election fraud that swelled after the 2020 election.
The Secretary of State’s office sent out a press release asking news outlets to report on the update to election law, but did not say whether corrected pamphlets would be printed and delivered.
In October of 2018, Secretary of State Corey Stapleton spent more than $265,000 to print and mail out an addendum to a voter information pamphlet that included formatting errors.
Check your registration status and find more info about what's on the ballot.