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The candidates competing to be Montana’s next Secretary of State sparred in a weekend debate hosted by MTN News. The Democrat accused his Republican opponent of working for a corrupt administration and said he’ll clean up the Secretary of State’s office. The Republican stood by her work and experience and labeled her opponent clueless.

Campaign Beat: QAnon, Carbon Tax And Cooney On Drums

Sep 11, 2020

Vice President Mike Pence and top Montana Republican candidates plan to attend a fundraiser hosted by supporters of QAnon, which the FBI calls a domestic terrorism threat. Gov. Bullock flip-flops on support of a carbon tax. A new ad accuses Sen. Daines of cozying up to Texas billionaires who own a big chunk of Montana. A new poll shows the Senate race a virtual tie. Trump's remarks about dead soldiers draw party line reaction. And Mike Cooney marches to the beat of his own drum.

Listen now on Campaign Beat with Sally Mauk, Rob Saldin and Gwen Florio, filling in for Holly Michels.

A 2020 Montana primary absentee ballot
Nicky Ouellet / Yellowston Public Radio

Republicans have filed another lawsuit against Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock and Secretary of State Corey Stapleton, joining an effort to stop an emergency executive order that allows counties to conduct this year’s election by all-mail voting.

A Montana district court began trial hearings on Sept. 8 regarding the legality of a state law that limits the number of ballots a person can deliver on others’ behalf.

Yellowstone County District Court Judge Jessica Fehr is hearing the first of two trials tied to the Ballot Interference Prevention Act (BIPA), which caps the number of absentee ballots a person or group can drop off for someone else at six.

Montana absentee ballot for the 2017 special congressional election.
Eric Whitney / Montana Public Radio

As of Friday, 45 of Montana’s 56 counties have filed plans to hold all-mail elections this November after Gov. Steve Bullock issued a directive in August allowing counties to do so. However, some people are pushing back against the measure and Republican officials have filed a lawsuit trying to stop it.

Campaign Beat: Hanoi Who? Montana Ad Checklist

Sep 4, 2020

Republicans try to impede Montanans voting by mail. A new ad resurrects "Hanoi Jane." Sen. Daines says a proposed climate action plan would hurt Montana's economy. A democratic protest rings hollow. And a new campaign ad checks all the Montana boxes.

Listen now on Campaign Beat with Sally Mauk, Rob Saldin and Gwen Florio.

Recent changes with the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) have embroiled the agency in a political firestorm, as some fear the post office is being used for partisan gain. Despite the rhetoric, YPR News’ Kevin Trevellyan spoke with industry workers who haven’t yet observed notable impact to USPS services in Montana. Trevellyan shares his reporting with Nicky Ouellet.

That was Kevin Trevellyan sharing his reporting with Nicky Ouellet. Kevin is YPR’s Report for America statehouse reporter.

The U.S. Postal Service on Aug. 18 announced it’s suspending controversial cost saving measures that had raised alarms among Montana’s elected officials.

In separate statements on Aug. 18, Democratic Sen. Jon Tester and Republicans Sen. Steve Daines and Congressman Greg Gianforte welcomed news that the Post Office will drop recent operational changes until after the November election.

Tester also said the agency must reverse previous disruptions.

State and federal courts ruled on Aug. 19 that the Green Party will remain off the November election ballot in Montana.

In a five to two decision, the Montana Supreme Court rejected Secretary of State Corey Stapleton’s appeal of an early August state district court order.

Lewis and Clark County District Court Judge James Reynolds ruled Stapleton erred in not accepting requests to withdraw more than 560 signatures from a petition to qualify the Green Party for the November ballot. Reynolds said the party wouldn’t have made it onto the ballot without those signatures

Campaign Beat: Parsing The Senate Debate And Latest Ads

Aug 14, 2020

The first Senate debate scored talking points but not a clear winner. A new ad in the U.S. House race touches all the Montana bases: fishing, shooting and beer. And the candidates for governor talk sales taxes.

Listen now on Campaign Beat with Sally Mauk, Rob Saldin and Holly Michels.

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