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GOP Chair Jeff Essmann Caught Attempting to Suppress Votes

HELENA -- Local and national media are blasting the Montana Republican Party and Rep. Jeff Essmann (R-Billings) for their latest attempt to suppress Montana voters in the upcoming special congressional election. 

Despite the fact that SB 305 has a Republican sponsor, bipartisan support, and could save the state as much as $750,000, GOP Chairman Jeff Essmann is encouraging Republicans in the Legislature to vote against it out of fear that it will increase voter turnout. 

Governor Bullock thinks this doesn’t make any sense. “We sure shouldn’t be spending more money to try to get fewer people voting,” he said last night on MSNBC.

See coverage here:

MSNBC: Montana GOP chair warns too much voter turnout favors Democrats
“This latest email from Jeff Essmann is deeply troubling and shows their party’s desire to suppress the voices of Montanans in this special election,” said Nancy Keenan, Montana Democratic Party executive director. “The Montana GOP should realize they’re going to need all the help they can get if their leading contender is failed gubernatorial candidate and New Jersey multimillionaire Greg Gianforte.”

Bozeman Daily Chronicle: Republicans divided over letting counties use all-mail ballots in special election

“Just what exactly is a ‘lower propensity voter?’” asked Janice Hoppes, Republican County Commissioner from Pondera County. “This statement further underscores the bad rap Republicans get about voter suppression.”
"In an email sent Tuesday, GOP chairman Jeff Essmann urged Montana Republicans to oppose a mail-in ballot bill — which would allow counties to use mail-in balloting instead of or in addition to traditional polling centers in order to save money during the special election — on the grounds that it would help Democrats."

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