FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, September 14, 2020
Once again, Daines is out to protect himself and his reelection chances instead of working to ensure all Montanans can safely exercise their right to vote.
Montana Free Press: Daines campaign website promotes mail voting, but only for Trump supporters
By Alex Sakariassen
“Over the past couple weeks, county election officials around the state have fielded numerous form emails from Montanans requesting that their voter status be changed from inactive to active. Save for the names, addresses and contact info, the emails are virtually identical, and all hail from the same domain: votedaines.com.
According to its disclaimer, the site is paid for by U.S. Sen. Steve Daines’ reelection campaign. And the campaign spent a good chunk of late August pushing the link via social media and text messages.
The gist from the site’s language is that if visiting voters want to ensure they get a mail ballot in the upcoming general election, they should enter their personal information in a series of boxes. […]
However, visitors to the website’s survey page only get the opportunity to enter that information if they answer a question first: “Do You Support President Trump?”
If the user selects “yes,” they’re redirected to the site’s voter status update form.
If the user selects “no,” or “undecided,” they get a simple message thanking them for their feedback and stating that their response “has been recorded.” […]
In light of the impacts the coronavirus pandemic is having on the 2020 general election — more than two-thirds of the counties in the state have opted to conduct the Nov. 3 election by mail — election officials and voter rights advocates alike believe it’s more critical than ever for voters to have accurate information. That includes whether the forms they’re filling out are the right ones.
“Misleading information, even if well-intentioned, can discourage prospective voters to the point they stop trying,” said Nancy Leifer, president of the League of Women Voters Montana.
“Montana law requires voter registration, absentee ballot requests and voting to be done on paper with proper signatures and turned in to your county election office. While this seems old-fashioned, this safeguards our elections against hacking and cyber-attacks. If you see information indicating you can do any of these things online or in any other way, don’t waste your time on them.” […]
As for the site’s survey directing only avowed Trump supporters to update their voter status? Hayes and Seaman declined to comment. Rutherford, though, said he wasn’t a fan.
“I’ve never seen anything like that,” he said. “I wish everybody was treated uniformly.”
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