Archive for October 10th, 2008

by jhwygirl

Michele Reinhart is the incumbent candidate for HD-97, and has been a strong supporter of many good things, such as defending minimum wage, capping college tuition and going after predatory lenders. She currently serves in the interim Business Affairs Committee, and has been appointed to the very important Business & Labor Committee. She is a very strong advocate for environmental and conservation issues, safe drinking water and clean air, and is a champion for protecting and expanding hunting and fishing access for the public. Michele serves on the House Human Services Committee, where she has supported expanded access to healthcare for children (CHIP), fought hard for better mental health care as well as better access to healthcare services for lower income and disabled persons. She has been endorsed by Montana Conservation Voters.

In other words, Michele Reinhart – in only her freshman year in the legislature – has been a busy busy legislator for us Missoulians, providing us with the best representation in a wide variety of issues, from finance and business to healthcare and the environment. I could go on, really, but I need to get to the point of this post now, don’t I?

But before I do, let’s plug a donation to Michele’s ActBlue page. Elections cost money,and her opponent Carol Minjares has been out knocking doors – perhaps you’ve seen her lovely blue signs around town? – and we need to make sure that Michelle is able to get her name and information out to her voters in HD-97. Seriously, 10 bucks could go a long way.

Before I go on to Michele’s thoughts on the Montana Republican Party’s antics of the last two weeks, disrupting Montana’s election and sending courthouses around the state in to chaos (and extra costs), consider this – Michele’s opponent Carol Minjares has been silent to her party’s acts of voter suppression…which included my vote too, BTW.

From Michelle Reinhart:

The GOP wisely turned tail on its plot to intimidate eligible registered voters by filing indiscriminate challenge lists. That’s a good thing for Montanans but it’s no reason to stop questioning the motives of people who would embark on punishing any voters who filed change-of-address forms with the Post Office.

The list produced by the Montana GOP included friends of mine who moved in the last year and re-registered at their new address. One example that made the papers is former state representative and U.S. Army Lt. Kevin Furey, who was deployed overseas for military duty and forwarded his mail to his parents’ house. And the tactic is not limited to Montana; suppressing votes through spurious challenges continues in other states.

As the GOP’s retreat demonstrates, there was no voter fraud here—just discrimination based on “change of address.” The Republican challenge list sought to obstruct the voting rights of renters, college students, Native Americans, low-income folks, and our men and women in uniform. This challenge tactic is a low-blow directed at democracy, voting rights, and civil rights, harkening back to the darker days of America’s history when political participation was dishonorably denied to people of the “wrong” race, gender or level of wealth.

Trying to block eligible voters from completing their civic duty under a false pretense of voter fraud is shameful. I hope the Montana GOP’s aborted attempt at voter challenges has taught them that Montanans won’t stand for undemocratic tactics and this is the last we’ll see of bad behavior during this fall’s election. I’ll even dare to hope that word gets out to Republican Party operatives in the rest of the country about Montana’s success in stopping voter suppression in its tracks.

At any rate, you can also bet legislation will be introduced during the next legislative session to make sure consequences follow frivolous challenges to voting rights here in Montana.

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