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Day two of David Pecker testimony wraps in NY Trump trial; Supreme Court hears arguments on Idaho's near-total abortion ban; ND sees a flurry of campaigning among Native candidates; and NH lags behind other states in restricting firearms at polling sites.

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The Senate moves forward with a foreign aid package. A North Carolina judge overturns an aged law penalizing released felons. And child protection groups call a Texas immigration policy traumatic for kids.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

July 4th: An Opportunity to Examine State of U.S. Democracy

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Monday, July 4, 2022   

July 4th celebrates the founding of the United States' democracy - and some say it's time to recommit to defending that democracy.

In the wake of the "Big Lie" that the 2020 election was stolen, and the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, folks like Nancy Leifer - president of the League of Women Voters of Montana board of directors - concerned about the state of the country's representative government.

She said in Montana, there's also been talk that elections can't be trusted.

"There's absolutely nothing going on here that warrants that," said Leifer. "It's just this narrative that these folks have come up with who don't want to admit that the views that they have are not well supported by the majority of Americans."

Voter fraud is very rare in the United States. In January, two women who are citizens of the Philippines voted in a Montana election and were subsequently arrested.

Before that, the Heritage Foundation database of election fraud stretching back to 1979 shows just one conviction in Montana for fraudulent use of absentee ballots.

However, Leifer said the Montana Legislature passed a number of laws that restrict access to voting based on the false narrative of widespread election fraud.

That includes getting rid of same-day voter registration, which she said is especially important for Native American voters who may only be able to make one trip to the polls.

"The other I.D. law specifically targeted students," said Leifer, "who are unable to come up with the right I.D. information now because their student I.D. from the institution where they're studying is not sufficient."

Those two cases will head to the state Supreme Court before the November election.

Despite the limitations on voter access, Leifer said she has a deep faith in Montanans. She's convinced Montanans can like each other without having to agree on politics.

"That's been undermined by the extreme partisanship that's gone on lately," said Leifer. "And so, I would invite everyone to step back from their partisanship and to remember that we are here, and we are all friends and neighbors, and we will be moving forward together."

Support for this reporting was provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.




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