Gianforte Refuses to Stand Up for Montanans' Right to Vote, Save Taxpayer Money
HELENA – New Jersey multimillionaire Greg Gianforte joined the Republican leadership of the Montana Legislature Tuesday in refusing to support efforts to make it easier for Montanans to vote.
Just one day after Rob Quist called on Gianforte to join him in asking the legislature to approve mail ballots for May’s special congressional election – a bipartisan proposal to save counties money and encourage voter participation – Gianforte refused to lend his support. Instead, Gianforte had his spokesperson say it is a “decision that needs to be made by the legislature.”
"New Jersey multimillionaire Greg Gianforte bought his way into the Republican nomination and now he's trying to win Montana's one U.S. House seat by keeping Montanans from voting," said Nancy Keenan, Executive Director of the Montana Democratic Party. "Greg Gianforte and his voter suppression have no place in Montana. If Gianforte believes this decision needs to be left to the legislature, he should join us in calling on House leadership to bring the bill to a fair vote on the floor. Let's let lawmakers decide."
County elected leaders from both political parties came together to urge the Montana Legislature to approve mail ballots for next month's special election, saying it would improve voter access and save Montana taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Governor Steve Bullock revived the push for mail-in ballots last week by issuing an amendatory veto. The initial bill to allow counties to conduct the special election by mail, SB 305, had bipartisan support, however, Republican leaders like Rep. Jeff Essmann and House Speaker Austin Knudsen tried to kill the bill. Essmann, chairman of the state GOP, sent a memo around ahead of the bill's hearing, demanding his fellow party-mates oppose the bill for political reasons.