Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Montana Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen spoke to KGVO News on Tuesday to ask why media outlets, print, radio, and television across the state are not covering the upcoming Supreme Court decision on what she called ‘common sense election integrity laws’ that were passed in the 2021 legislature, then struck down by a Montana District Court.

“In the 2021 legislative session, there were several common-sense pieces of legislation that were passed,” began Secretary Jacobsen. “I had requested many of the bills, voter ID, changing the same-day voter registration by a day, banning ballot harvesting and basically outside entities able to get cash for gathering ballots and just making sure that you're 18 before you get a ballot. Those are just some of the election integrity measures that were passed.”

Jacobsen said well-organized opposition to the election integrity laws struck quickly to strike them down, even as they were being signed into law.

The 2021 Voter Integrity Laws Were Challenged as the Governor Signed Them

“We immediately were served with a lawsuit as soon as the governor signed those bills,” she said. “For the last two years, we have been battling to make sure that they stand and most recently, last week we filed our reply brief with the (Montana) Supreme Court. We've taken it all the way up to the Supreme Court. We had a District Court finding in Yellowstone County and then we appealed to the Supreme Court.”

Jacobsen said she was hopeful that the Montana Supreme Court will fulfill what she called ‘the will of the people’ as passed by the 2021 legislature.

Jacobsen said she is Hopeful that the Montana Supreme Court will Support the Laws

“We filed our reply brief to the Supreme Court, and we really just hope that the Supreme Court listens that these are very common sense election integrity bills,” she said. “They're absolutely nonpartisan. I think when I travel the state I hear that all Montanans want to have election integrity, including the voter ID, and adjusting the same-day voter registration to make it easier on our county election administrators on Election Day.”

She Wondered why State Media Outlets have Ignored the Appeal

Jacobsen took the state’s media outlets to task for ignoring the upcoming Montana Supreme Court’s consideration of her appeal.

“This is the real news that Montanans want to know about, and these are facts,” she said. “What I'm talking to you about today are absolute 100 percent facts, and it's just really disappointing to me that there's no news coverage on it. There are no updates like the media doesn't want to cover this. This is the real news. This is what Montanans want to know about. And this is, again, just the will of the people, and so I think it's just super important that you're reporting on it today. This is real news. These are facts and these are issues that Montanans want to hear about.”

Below, find Secretary of State Jacobsen’s open letter to all Montanans about common-sense voting laws.

‘HELENA, Mont. - Montana Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen announced this

week she has dispelled attacks on Montana's commonsense voting laws. The

Secretary filed a reply brief in the voting rights case before the Montana

Supreme Court.

Secretary Jacobsen, state and local election officials, and voters in

Montana are awaiting a decision by the Montana Supreme Court regarding laws

passed during the 2021 Legislative Session, including registration

deadlines, voter identification, ballot harvesting for cash, and meeting

eligibility requirements before obtaining a ballot.

The reply brief points to the Constitution's affirmative command to the

Legislature to regulate elections. The Montana Constitution (Mont. Const.

art. IV, §§ 2-3) provides for the Legislature to "provide by law the

requirements for residence, registration, absentee voting, and

administration of elections. It may provide for a system of poll booth

registration, and shall insure the purity of elections and guard against

abuses of the electoral process."

Despite the litigation lasting over two years, the plaintiffs have not

identified a single person that has been harmed by Montana's voter


During a survey following Montana's midterm elections, election

administrators throughout the state cited adjusting the state's late

registration deadline as the top way to improve Montana's elections.

Media reports during the 2022 midterm elections cited higher voter turnout

with HB 176 in effect, and lower voter turnout after the commonsense law was

enjoined, undermining the arguments made in the case.

"These laws are commonsense laws that increase voter confidence and assist

election officials," said Secretary Jacobsen. "These laws continue to be

supported by Montanans as I strive to make our elections safe, secure,

transparent, and accessible for all Montanans."

Other points debunking plaintiffs' arguments in the case include:

*       Montana's 1972 Constitutional Convention granted the Legislature

"very broad" authority to "pass whatever statutes it deems necessary" to

keep Montana elections "free of fraud."

*       The brief stresses that "the appellees cannot cite a single case -

anywhere, ever - that struck down a registration deadline."

*       Secretary Jacobsen also noted in the brief that the plaintiffs have

not identified "a single student who has ever even used a student ID to

vote, or would use a student ID to vote."

*       While Montana's HB 176 applies a one-day registration deadline, much

longer registration deadlines have been upheld by the United States Supreme

Court, and many state and federal courts.

*       Reasonable registration deadlines allow "election officials to

direct their exclusive and tireless attention to election management and


*       Claims that Election Day registration does not delay vote reporting

and increase lines do not hold up. Following the November 2022 midterm

general election, media reports cited delayed reporting and long lines of

people lined up to register and vote.

*       Further media reports following the June 2022 midterm primary

election, where HB 176 was applied, stated voter turnout was higher than

previous midterm elections, while turnout in the general election was lower,

despite same-day registration.

*       In addition to the numerous ways eligible electors can register to

vote in Montana, the state allows no-excuse absentee registration and voting

by mail. Montana also has one of the longest late registration periods in

the country.

LOOK: What major laws were passed the year you were born?

Data for this list was acquired from trusted online sources and news outlets. Read on to discover what major law was passed the year you were born and learn its name, the vote count (where relevant), and its impact and significance.

More From Newstalk KGVO 1290 AM & 98.3 FM