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Fri Feb 24, 2017, 12:42 PM

Montana Democrats accuse Republicans of voter suppression ahead of special election

Source: The Guardian

Montana Democrats accuse Republicans of voter suppression ahead of special election

War of words erupts over bipartisan bill for election to replace
US congressman Ryan Zinke, with Republican party saying it gives
Democrats ‘inherent advantage’


Edward Helmore
Friday 24 February 2017 15.40 GMT

Montana’s Republican party leadership is opposing a Republican-sponsored measure to reform the state’s elections, warning that it would “give Democrats an inherent advantage” due to their ability to increase voter turnout door-to-door.

In an email titled Emergency Chairman’s Report, Republican party chairman Jeff Essmann set off a furious war of words, with Democrats accusing Republicans of attempting to suppress the vote because it might mean a loss for the party.

The dispute focuses on a bipartisan bill before the Montana legislature that would make an upcoming election to replace Representative Ryan Zinke, a Republican nominated by Donald Trump to be interior secretary, an all-mail ballot vote.

Essmann warned that if the bill passed, the Democrats would have an advantage “in close elections due to their ability to organize large numbers of unpaid college students and members of public employee unions to gather ballots by going door to door”.

“This a Republican saying, no, let’s not let everybody vote,” said Nancy Keenan, the state’s Democratic party leader. “This is wrong, and it is wrong that he would attempt to suppress votes.”

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Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/24/montana-ryan-zinke-election-reforms-democrats-republicans

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