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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Montana Democrats focus voter turnout efforts in Indian Country

The Montana Democratic Party said it has launched a multi-million dollar campaign to turn out voters in 2024, with a heavy focus in Indian Country.

The state party announced the coordinated campaign Monday in its effort to re-elect U.S. Sen. Jon Tester and Democrats down the ballot.

The party said the campaign will include funding for more than 50 full-time organizers, offices on American Indian reservations, ballot access efforts and outreach plans. Native voters have long been part of the Democratic party’s base in Montana.

Voter turnout has also been historically low on rural reservations.

Albert Gros-Ventre of Crow Agency is an outreach coordinator with the advocacy group Western Native Voice. He said there are a variety of logistical challenges that contribute to low voter turnout, but also, apathy, after years of feeling ignored.

“The mindset, I think, and what I kind of perceive is you know, ‘why is my vote even going to count? They’re not going to appreciate or respect my thoughts,’” Gros-Ventre said.

Tester faces a tight race in his re-election campaign and Democrats are hoping to claw back some of the power they’ve lost to the GOP across the state. The U.S. Senate race is expected to break campaign finance records.

Shaylee covers state government and politics for Montana Public Radio. Please share tips, questions and concerns at 406-539-1677 or  
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