The Missoula League of Women Voters (LWV) is hosting a public meeting focused on LR129 – a legislative referendum placed on the ballot by SB352, sponsored by State Senator Albert Olszewski of Kalispell during the 2017 Montana Legislative Session.
Ballot referendum LR129 has two main parts that would become law if passed by voters on November 6th. First, it would restrict who can collect and turn in a ballot for another person. Secondly, it would require those allowed to help a voter to get their absentee ballot returned, to deliver the ballot directly to a polling place or the county election office, and sign a registry for each ballot they have collected (up to six total) – providing their name, address and phone number, the voter’s name and address, plus the nature of the relationship between the voter and the person delivering the ballot, and their signature. An individual violating any provision of LR127 could be fined $500 for each ballot unlawfully collected.
The LWV of Montana opposes ballot issue LR129 based on our organization’s nearly 100-year history of working to protect voting rights as well as the security and integrity of our election systems. The LWV is a nonpartisan organization that neither supports nor opposes political candidates or parties, but can and will actively appeal to the public to vote no on ballot issues that undermine electoral systems or that disenfranchise voters in any way.
“LR 129 is both unnecessary and harmful,” said Nancy Leifer, co-president of the League of Women Voters Missoula. “We already have laws to protect ballots. Also, LR 129 replaces Montana neighborliness with bureaucratic red tape and the threat of a $500 fine. Rather than protecting, LR 129 undermines and interferes with Montanan’s absentee voting practices.”
Facilitators will review key elements of LR129 and positions for and against it stated in the Voter Information Pamphlet. The LWV will point out potential negative repercussions on voters, and on those who assist others in returning ballots. Questions about LR129’s proposed mandates that may be confusing and difficult to enforce, or conflict with existing law, will be addressed to local experts. The LWV will touch on current laws and best practices regarding the absentee ballot process - to safeguard ballots and to protect voters from undue influence, as well as current checks on the process. And questions from the audience will conclude the event.
Large meeting room downstairs at Missoula Public Library. It will also be live broadcast at MCAT.org - click "LIVE STREAM"