Montana Youth Action et al. v. Secretary of State

During the 2021 legislative session, the Montana state legislature passed a cocktail of laws burdening Montanans' right of suffrage. Three youth civic engagement organizations--Montana Youth Action, Forward Montana Foundation, and the Montana Public Interest Research Group (MontPIRG)--have brought this lawsuit to challenge three of those laws, recognizing that the cumulative effect of burdensome voting laws falls with particular weight on young voters. The three laws challenged here include Senate Bill 169, which downgrades student ID to a second-class form of voter ID, Section 2 of House Bill 506, which prohibits ballot distribution to voters who will but do not yet meet age- and residency-based voter registration criteria, and House Bill 176, which eliminates election day voter registration. Together and separately, these laws unconstitutionally burden Montanans’ fundamental right to vote, subverting the will of Montana voters and upending norms that Montana voters have come to rely on. This case has been consolidated with two others that challenge two of the same laws, as well as House Bill 530, which prohibits paid ballot collection and likewise burdens Montanans' right of suffrage.

On April 6, 2022, the court granted Plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction, enjoining all four of the challenged laws. Trial is set for August 15, 2022.

Filings / Press

Eric Tegethoff, Youth Groups File to Stop New MT Election Laws Before 2022 Primary, Public News Service (Jan. 19, 2022)

Darrell Ehrlich, Judge hears groups’ arguments to issue preliminary injunction against four voting rights laws, (Mar. 10, 2022)

Alex Sakariassen, Making the case on voting rights, Montana Free Press (Mar. 10, 2022)

Amy Beth Hanson, Judge hears arguments in challenges over new election laws, Associated Press (Mar. 10, 2022)

Sam Wilson, Judge blocks 4 new voting laws backed by MT GOP, Helena Independent Record (April 6, 2022)

Alex Sakariassen, District court blocks new voting laws, Montana Free Press (April 6, 2022)

Ashley Nerbovig, Judge temporarily halts several new Montana voting laws ahead of statewide election, KTVH Helena (April 6, 2022)

Amy Beth Hanson, Montana judge temporarily blocks new election laws, Associated Press (April 6, 2022)

State's Motion for Summary Judgment (February 17, 2022)

State's Brief in Support (February 17, 2022)