Michele Reinhart (HD-97) Speaks on GOP Political Chicanery

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.

  1. Gee, Jhgirl, I just did a search on Brian Schweitzer and don’t see any post by you on his bragging to the trial lawyers about “turning some dials” in the 2006 election. No opinion on that, eh? No outrage about his self-proclaimed “chicanery”?

    I didn’t post on the voter challenge because I didn’t understand the point. Still don’t. And I tried to comment as much here but my comments were rejected. I realize now it was because I included my blog url.

    Not even sure this one will go through.

  2. I’ve not blocked your blog URL…and I’ll look into it. You aren’t even showing up in spam. Someone even updated your Missoulapolis link over there to the left, so I can’t imagine that is the case.

    I’m amazed how for the last 4 years, Brian’s word has been dirt to Republican’s, but now all of a sudden a joke in front of a roomful of lawyers – about running off people who were suppressing the Indian vote – turns into God’s Spoken Truth. I did say here that he should never have joked about the voting process.

    In the Montana Republican Party’s “political chicanery,” they chose to try and challenge legitimate voters. I spoke with both Vickie Zeier and Van Valkenberg today. According to Vickie, what she has found is that “most” of the 3,000+ challenges submitted weren’t even real changes in address. There is one situation where the only difference in the address is that there are 2 spaces between Missoula and the MT.

    My situation, I have come to find, is very similar.

    If someone is going to swear out an affidavit challenging someone’s constitutional right to vote – a right that, in my case, was fought by women who were jailed, beaten, starved, and before them Revolutionary War soldiers were tortured, starved, and died for, and in which all of our nation suffered tremendously for, then they better be God damned sure that that affidavit they are swearing out against a person’s vote is done so under reasonable due diligence to be accurate.

    Your party didn’t bother to do that. They ran a list through a database and then printed up what spit out. Unbelievably negligent.

    Your a lawyer. They had an obligation as a citizen submitting such a challenge to follow the law. They had a responsibility to exercise reasonable due diligence. They did none of that. They took a constitutional right and treated it like something that doesn’t even deserve the accuracy of what was effectively a spell check.

    Maybe, Carol, you should take a stop down at the courthouse and check that information out for yourself. That is, of course, if it would cause you to change your mind and speak out against your party’s actions.

  3. OK..I went first to put your Missoulapolis link into your original post – you can see there is now a link with your name? That went through. So I went to the list of blocked stuff – unless you are coming from an IP that has caused problems, which, obviously you are not because that post above went through, then I don’t know what the issue was. Maybe you were using another computer that did? I don’t know, I’m far from an IT whiz.

    If you ever have problems commenting, please email me. It’s over there under “contact 4&20blacbirds” on the right. I’d never want to see you not able to comment. Like goof, I enjoy the back-and-forth.

    addendum: I’m not a kool-aid drinking Brian worshiper either. That’s not saying I don’t like the guy – he’s very likable and I’m sure I’d enjoy having a beer with him. He is, for me, and most assuringly most of Montana, the better choice for Governor. Further, he and his departments have gotten criticism here. Not minuscule amounts, either. Regarding his behavior and his comments, here were mine, and if you read that whole thread, you’ll see JC, too, isn’t shy to criticize the guy.

  4. I don’t much like the behavior of either Schweitzer or the Montana Repubs. But, could someone explain why the GOP thought this might be a good political move? 90 or 100 days ago, sure. But, so close to a close election- that I don’t get.

  5. goof houlihan

    JH, here’s the thing. Brian wasn’t joking, he was bragging. I’ve seen him use the MHP as his private police force, removing a man from a room for just being there, before he’d deign to grace our group, one of whose members he just didn’t like, with his presence.

    Not only that, but I’ve checked out the whole speech, and there is a lot there that cannot be construed as “joking”. He wasn’t joking, and HIS saying that is as lame as Palin saying she was being sarcastic with Katie Couric. Nope, Brian was showing off his power, as he was with the Highway patrol at the meeting I mentioned, and Palin was clueless with Couric .

    In addition, poll watchers did file a complaint about being run off in the 2006 election, didn’t they? And there was a phone call to Butte, wasn’t there? The call to Butte happened. It wasn’t a joke.

    Binky, nobody knows what “the GOP” was thinking. I’ve never figured out the whole “Bohlinger can’t come to the party” either.

    I’ve got to get that Carol Minjares a contribution…

  6. Klemz

    *cough* *hack* *wheeze*

    This is seriously killing me.

  7. Yeah, thanks, goof! Jhwygirl, I don’t know what the problem is but I don’t think it was a spam filter problem. It happened nearly everywhere, even GeeGuy’s.

    I brought up the Schweitzer example because was a case where you were conspicuously silent. You were obsessed with the Russell Street corridor at that time IIRC. Just as I was watching the global economic trainwreck last week (and still am). We all have our different interests and as bloggers we have freedom to post on whatever.

    I am not an official apologist for the state GOP. I don’t think I’m responsible for what the guys in Helena do. They’re in their own little world up there. When I did start looking into it, it was dropped.

    But if it makes a blog post for you, have a ball.

  8. Well if it happened at GeeGuy’s – you’re talking about Electric City Weblog? – then I’m guessing it was a spam thing. I mean, he’s a righty-leaning one.

    I guess I felt as if you were suggesting I blocked you. Looking back, I got overly defensive in thinking that.

    Look, both you and goof are entitled to your opinion, and so am I. I’m not an official apologist for Brian Schweitzer either.

    I’m sure the voter suppression thing’ll make a few posts – but I doubt it’ll make a website or a television ad, for Obama or the state’s Democratic Party.

    Nor, do I understand, why I’m being held to some sort of non-partisan standard when you aren’t, Carol. I’ve said it before – people know what they are going to get when they head over this way, just as they know what they’re going to get when they head over yours.

    Ultimately, what I enjoy with both of you is the civil level of disagreement with my opinion that you both put out there.

  9. goof houlihan

    Post election, we will be back to arguing local government and mocking legislators.

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