Good-government group True the Vote urged the Supreme Court on Oct. 7 to send a message to allegedly overreaching state officials across the country who are making 11th-hour changes to voting procedures by blocking Montana Gov. Steve Bullock from requiring mail-in ballots be sent to his state’s voters on Oct. 9.
The group claims that hundreds of election-related lawsuits have already been filed across the United States and that many more are expected from the Democratic Party and its allies “who claim that COVID-19 justifies setting aside numerous anti-fraud provisions of state election laws.”
“This litigation flood is likely to overwhelm the courts and the Supreme Court if the Supreme Court doesn’t clearly and immediately reaffirm that only legislatures—not state officials or the courts—have the constitutional authority to adopt election laws by balancing election access with election integrity concerns, such as ballot fraud and a sudden deluge of mail ballots,” the Texas-headquartered group said in a press release.
“Voters in the lawsuit are requesting the Court to explain that long-standing state election laws should not be overturned by state officials or state courts on the eve of an election, as Governor Bullock’s directive does.”
Catherine Engelbrecht, founder and president of True the Vote, said in a statement: “The progressive Left is spearheading a nationwide effort to overturn state election laws that prevent fraud and abuse and to manipulate election procedures that they think favor their election.
“True the Vote and our allies are on the front lines to fight for election integrity and preserve state election laws. We urge the Supreme Court to quickly act in this matter, not only to solve the problem, but also to prevent the overwhelming of our courts after Election Day, when the nearly 350 election-related lawsuits that are currently pending could stand to throw the result of our election into complete chaos. This is about protecting the voting rights of Montanans and all Americans and ensuring every legal vote cast is counted.”
The lawyer for the plaintiffs said the high court needs to act soon.
“Montana already had no-excuse ‘absentee ballots,’ and in-person voting is already being conducted safely under the Governor’s own reopening guidelines,” James Bopp Jr. of the Bopp Law Firm, lead counsel for the voters and general counsel for True the Vote. “So there was no COVID-19 problem with voting, no need to flood the state with unsolicited ‘mail ballots,’ and no emergency to trigger the Governor’s emergency powers to set aside state laws.
“Under the U.S. Constitution, the Legislature, not a Governor, has the authority to prescribe how an election is to be conducted, and the Montana Legislature banned unsolicited mail ballots in general elections, which the Governor has set aside. The [governor’s] directive opens Montana up to election fraud and the chaos of mail-in voting evidenced already across the country.
“The U.S. Supreme Court needs to immediately step in to reaffirm the constitutional mandate that only long-standing, legislatively enacted laws govern elections. Otherwise, we will continue to suffer this chaotic flood of litigation which will deprive voters of their right to vote by diluting their votes or by them not being counted at all.”
The plaintiffs are a group of voters and the Ravalli County Republican Central Committee. They claim that Bullock is violating the U.S. Constitution by moving forward with an “unlawful and unauthorized expansion of mail voting” and that Secretary of State Corey Stapleton, a Republican, is implementing the plan by approving counties’ voting-by-mail plans.
They argue that Montana law “does not allow for universal mail-in voting for the general election.”
President Donald Trump, a Republican, easily bested Democrat Hillary Clinton in Montana in the 2016 presidential election, securing its three electoral votes, out of the 270 needed nationwide to be elected president. Trump won 56.2 percent of the popular vote in Montana, with Clinton collecting 35.7 percent, according to Ballotpedia.
Another lawsuit about Montana elections went to the high court weeks ago.
The Supreme Court summarily denied a request Aug. 25 by Montana’s Republican secretary of state, Corey Stapleton, to put Green Party candidates back on state ballots for the Nov. 3 election, a move that could affect the hotly contested race for the U.S. Senate and down-ballot contests, The Epoch Times previously reported. Montana’s Supreme Court had upheld a lower court decision removing the Green Party from the ballot due to alleged improper signature collection.
Bullock is the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in Montana. In postmortems of the 2016 presidential election, Green Party candidate Jill Stein was believed to have cost Clinton wins in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan by drawing voters who would otherwise have gone Democrat.
Bullock didn’t immediately return requests by The Epoch Times for comment.