In 2019, Montana has successfully passed measures to improve voter accessibility and voting rights. Legislation was enacted that allows voters who register late to still cast a ballot (SB 148), improves access for voters with disabilities (SB 291), makes it easier for overseas voters and military voters to cast ballots (SB 124)

While some pro-democracy bills passed, Republicans still attempted to bring voter suppression bills to Montana. GOP lawmakers tried to enact a restrictive voter ID law this session (SB 366). In the past, Montana Republicans have claimed that voter ID law is needed to prevent vote fraud. However, the Montana Secretary of State has confirmed that there have been no verified incidents of voter fraud in Montana. Voter ID laws make voting harder and have been shown to suppress the vote of marginalized citizens. GOP lawmakers also tried to pass legislation (SB 143) to restrict voter registration, but the bill failed.

On the other hand, Democratic initiatives that would have expanded voting rights in Montana did not advance due to GOP opposition. Those measures included making it easier for voters to register at the DMV (HB 536), authorizing online voter registration (HB 699), giving voters paid time off from work to vote (HB 448), paying for postage for vote-by-mail (HB 606), and allowing 16 year olds to pre-register to vote (HB 508).

In positive news, Montana passed a resolution to examine barriers to voting for Native American voters in Montana (HJ 10). This resolution comes after allegations that Native American voter suppression has occurred in recent Montana elections. Native American often suffer from unique barriers to voting and our politicians must do all they can to remove those barriers.