Column: Montana GOP's Illegal Move Ruins Claim As Party 'for The People'

This story was written by Virginia J. Cleaveland, Montana Kaimin

I hope the Montana Republican Party wasnt trying to bolster its image by challenging voter eligibility in Montana. It was trying to garner attention, maybe. But in my mind, the image of the Republicans as a for the people party was completely ruined by its actions this past week. That the Republican Party withdrew its challenge Tuesday night confirmed my suspicion that the challenge was nothing but a dirty political trick.

What the Montana Republican Party tried to do was illegal. Completely, utterly, illegal. It is not just illegal in Montana it is illegal nationwide, and there is a federal law in place which prohibits exactly what the party attempted to do. Had the complaint filed against the Republicans made it to court in Missoula, I know the judge would have ruled the partys actions illegal.

According to the complaint filed on Oct. 6 against the Montana Republican Party, within 90 days of a primary or general election for Federal office, the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 prohibits states from systematically reviewing the registration rolls for ineligible voters.

The National Voter Registration Act states that the only time a state can review voter registration in that 90day period is at the request of the voter; if the state wants to question the criminal record or mental incapacity of a voter; or if the state wants to question if a voter is still alive.

According to the complaint, Montana has adopted some of the provisions of the NVRA, including the 90-day prohibition on systematic review of voters registration status.

Last time I checked, the election was 27 days away, which certainly falls within this 90-day period.

Maybe if just one person in the Montana Republican Party had any brains at all, or if one person had bothered to do some research on voters laws and rights, the party wouldnt have made the reckless decision to challenge voter eligibility that it did.

It would have prevented a lot of negative attention from both the press and the public.

As a first-time voter in a presidential election, I now have no faith in the Republican Party.

Republicans have proven they can do nothing for me in the upcoming election except attempt to take away my right to vote. Why would I support a party that is trying to use scare tactics on the people who are solely responsible for keeping it alive?

Disenfranchising voters is not a way to win an election.

Its a way to make your party look like it succumbs to the dirty tricks and flat-out lies that the American people are trying to get out of the White House.

Do yourself, and all citizens of the United States, a favor and show up to vote on Nov. 4. The worst thing that will happen is that you will have to take a few extra minutes to update your address when you arrive at your polling station.

Dont give in to any dirty tricks in this election. Politicians dirty tricks are childs play, and some of us have grown up and left the sandbox.