Wednesday, December 8, 2021


Latino groups say Nevada's new political maps have diluted their influence, especially in Las Vegas' Congressional District 1; and strikes that erupted in what became known as "Striketober" aren't over yet.


Presidents Biden and Putin discuss the Ukrainian border in a virtual meeting; Senate reaches an agreement to raise the debt ceiling; and officials testify about closing the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay.


Seniors in non-urban areas struggle with hunger disproportionately; rural communities make a push for federal money; and Planned Parenthood takes a case to the Montana Supreme Court.

Ballot Collection Law Could Affect Older Montanans' Ability to Vote


Wednesday, October 20, 2021   

HELENA, Mont. -- A new law in Montana, which its backers said was designed to cut down on fraud, could instead make it more difficult for some Montanans to vote.

During the 2021 session, lawmakers passed a measure to prohibit the practice of collecting and delivering voters' sealed absentee ballots for monetary benefit.

Alex Rate, legal director for the ACLU of Montana, said the law's ambiguous language could have a number of effects; for instance, on someone living in a retirement home who has a staff member deliver their ballot to the mail.

"Vulnerable communities, such as seniors or people living in assisted living who need the assistance of others, are going to be particularly impacted by these types of voting restrictions," Rate contended.

A similar Montana law was struck down as unconstitutional in 2020. The new law is part of a wave of other Republican-sponsored bills in Montana and other states that purport to secure elections.

Ballot collection is important in Montana because so much of the state is rural. Rate pointed out having ballots collected is especially helpful for the state's indigenous communities, where post offices and election offices may be far away. He also noted Native Americans have faced racism in the towns bordering reservations.

"You can imagine that it's not on the top of somebody's list to go expose yourself to that type of racism, and discrimination and hostility, in order to cast your ballot," Rate asserted.

Rate emphasized the law could have a chilling effect on voting, because potential voters might assume the law applies to them, when in fact, the restrictions are much narrower than they understand.

"I think that there is a real danger that we're going to see ballots going uncounted as a result of this particular law," Rate remarked.

Rate stressed the ACLU of Montana aims to have an injunction in place by next year to prevent the ballot-collection ban from going into effect before the 2022 elections.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Carnegie Corporation of New York.

get more stories like this via email
BP's refinery in Whiting, IN covers 1,400 acres in northwestern Indiana, just a few miles from the Chicago loop. (Adobe Stock)


WHITING, Ind. -- International oil-and-gas producer BP will pay more than $500,000 to the federal government as part of a legal settlement over air …

Social Issues

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- Strikes that erupted in what became known as "Striketober" aren't over yet. After a two-day strike in October, health-care …

Social Issues

DENVER -- Women and low-income students disproportionately put their college careers on hold during the pandemic, according to a new report. Of the 1…

A proposal by Milwaukee City Alder Marina Dimitrijevic would provide 12 weeks of paid leave for new parents, regardless of their gender. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- Like most of the nation, Wisconsin does not have a statewide paid parental leave policy, but in Milwaukee, a three-month paid …

Social Issues

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- With kids stuck at home early in the pandemic, a new report said child-abuse cases decreased in 2020, but children's advocates say …

The Minnesota Attorney General's Office says even when someone is facing serious financial pressure with a past-due loan, they often don't have to make snap decisions. To avoid scams, borrowers are urged to seek out free consultation. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

MINNEAPOLIS -- With forbearance protections ending during this stage of the pandemic, some struggling homeowners are sorting out their mortgage …

Social Issues

RAPID CITY, S.D. -- If South Dakota wants to turn out a thriving economy, quality affordable child care needs to be a vital component, according to a …

Social Issues

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- In a system plagued by a history of disparities, Ohio's child-welfare workers and children's advocates say it is time to reimagine …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021