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Montanans Encouraged to Get Engaged on Voter Registration Day


Monday, September 27, 2021   

HELENA, Mont. - Tuesday is National Voter Registration Day and organizations across the country are encouraging people to make sure they're signed up to vote.

The event was started in 2012 by a member of the voting advocacy nonprofit Forward Montana. The organization has events planned around the state on Tuesday.

Emma Bode is Forward Montana's Bozeman field manager. She said some people might not be aware there are elections this year in Montana, but people will have a chance to vote in local elections, which she says impact everyone's day-to-day life.

"The decisions that local elected officials are making impact things like your roads and public transportation," said Bode. "Things like how much it might cost to go to school, like tuition. Things like COVID precautions and local guidelines around the pandemic."

Bode said November's elections in places such as Bozeman also include important levy and bond issues that affect issues like affordable housing and outdoor recreation.

Pari Kemmick is Billings field manager for Forward Montana. She said even one vote can sway local elections.

"A lot of these elections truly do come down to a handful of votes," said Kemmick. "A ward for a city council, for example, can literally be decided by 10, 15, 20 votes in some cases, and so your vote truly does count."

Kemmick noted that during the 2021 legislative session, Montana lawmakers made a number of changes to voting, including ending same-day voter registration.

"For us," said Kemmick, "what that means is that National Voter Registration Day is ever more important to get people to understand exactly what they need to vote and to let people know that they shouldn't be pushing it to election day."

Along with Billings and Bozeman, Forward Montana is holding events in the Flathead Valley and Missoula.

Disclosure: Forward Montana contributes to our fund for reporting on Civil Rights, Environment, Livable Wages/Working Families, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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