HOUSTON, Texas – True the Vote this week took action representing several Montana voters, two state office candidates, and a local Republican Party (collectively “Voters”) in a lawsuit filed against Montana Governor Steve Bullock's order allowing counties to choose all-mail elections for the November 3 general election.
Catherine Engelbrecht, founder and president of True the Vote, said, “Democratic government officials and candidates, such as Governor Bullock, are spearheading a national effort by the left to dispense with any notion of fairness in elections. By authorizing an all-mail election two months before election day, Governor Bullock has invited more voter disenfranchisement and election fraud into the process and blatantly disregarded the rights of Montana voters to push through his own political agenda to run for U.S. Senate. True the Vote and our allies are on the front lines as we fight on behalf of all voters to preserve election integrity and to uphold state election laws in Montana and nationwide.”
James Bopp, Jr., of The Bopp Law Firm, PC, lead counsel for the voters and General Counsel for True the Vote, said, “There was no need for Governor Bullock's all-mail-election order because in-person and absentee-ballot voting were already compliant with the Governor's own order reopening Montana. The Governor has no authority to override the legislature's balancing of election access and integrity. His order violates the right to vote of Montana voters by opening Montana up to election fraud and the chaos of mail-in voting evidenced already across the country.”
The Governor claims emergency laws and COVID-19 allow him to displace the legislature's ban on such elections. However, his own Phase 2 order reopening Montana permits voting in-person with social distancing precautions among other measures. Additionally, Montana offers no-excuse absentee balloting by simple request for those with special needs. Therefore, an in-person election with absentee ballots was already fully compliant with the Governor's Phase 2 order, and no emergency justifies the all-mail election allowed by Governor Bullock, who also happens to be a candidate for U.S. Senate in the November election.
The voters challenged Bullock's order on four grounds.
- They argued that the Governor's order violates the U.S. Constitution's requirement that state elections involving federal candidates be done as the legislature, not the governor, prescribes. No emergency authority overrides that constitutional requirement.
- The voters argued a violation of their right to vote based on the fact that all-mail elections create a substantial likelihood of illegal votes being counted, which dilutes legitimate votes.
- The voters argued a violation of their right to vote because the flood of votes caused by all-mail elections creates a substantial risk that votes will be lost or tardy and so not counted.
- The voters argued that in counties that choose all-mail voting, the voting power of county voters would be enhanced over that of voters in counties that decline all-mail voting, violating the right to vote and equal protection of voters in non-mail-vote counties.
True the Vote commended the Trump campaign's lawsuit in Montana last week on behalf of his campaign, the RNC, and the Montana Republican Party. The True the Vote case today is different in two ways: (1) True the Vote is representing voters and state candidates as Plaintiffs, and (2) the True the Vote case makes additional claims for violation of the right to vote by direct disenfranchisement of voters caused by the universal mail-in balloting and by the failure to have uniform statewide voting standards as required by Bush v. Gore. The True the Vote case is expected to be consolidated with the Trump campaign's case.
True the Vote continues to take action in states across the country to preserve election integrity in the 2020 election and has already initiated lawsuits in Michigan, Nevada, Virginia, New Mexico, and now, Montana. As the country's largest voters' rights and election integrity organization, True the Vote has been on the front lines of election fraud prevention since its founding in 2009.
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True the Vote (TTV) is an IRS-designated 501(c)3 voters' rights organization, founded to inspire and equip volunteers for involvement at every stage of our electoral process. TTV empowers organizations and individuals across the nation to actively protect the rights of legitimate voters, regardless of their political party affiliation. For more information, please visit www.truethevote.org.