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MT-Sen: Steve Bullock (D) Scores Another Victory Against Trump, This Time On Mail-In Voting

4 min read

Governor Steve Bullock (D. MT) has been kicking Trump’s ass lately. First, there was this:

A federal judge ruled Friday that the Trump administration's leading steward of public lands has been serving unlawfully and has blocked him from continuing in the position.

U.S. District Judge Brian Morris said U.S. Bureau of Land Management acting director William Perry Pendley served unlawfully for 424 days without being confirmed to the post by the U.S. Senate.

Montana’s Democratic governor had sued to remove Pendley, saying the the former oil industry attorney was illegally overseeing an agency that manages almost a quarter-billion acres of land, primarily in the U.S. West.

And now, this:

A judge for the U.S. District of Montana has ruled in favor of allowing a majority of the state's counties to accept mail-in ballots during the upcoming elections, despite a legal challenge by the re-election campaign of Republican President Donald Trump and the national and state Republican committees.

U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen dismissed all Republican motions against Democratic Governor Steve Bullock's August 6 directive allowing counties to accept voter-requested mail-in ballots in addition to offering in-person voting. Bullock issued the directive as a way for voters to avoid possible COVID-19 exposure. A total of 45 out of 56 counties decided to allow mail-in ballots.

Together, the Trump Campaign, the Republican National Committee and Montana Republican State Central Committee filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction on Bullock's directive, calling it a “brazen power grab” that defied the Constitution's directive that state legislatures establish voting methods.

Here’s what the judge said:

“Upon review of these cases, the Court finds no reason to conclude that the Montana Legislature’s decision to afford the Governor’s statutory suspension power a role in the time, place, and manner of Montana’s federal elections should not be afforded the same respect. In other words, Governor Bullock’s use of the legislatively created suspension power is not repugnant to the constitutional provisions invoked by Plaintiffs.6 As such, the Court finds that the Directive violates neither the Elections or Electors clause of the United States Constitution and judgment in favor of the Defendants on this claim is appropriate,” Judge Christensen wrote.

The judge also addressed claims a mail ballot election will lead to widespread voter fraud.

“When pressed during the hearing in this matter, the plaintiffs were compelled to concede that they cannot point to a single instance of voter fraud in Montana in any election during the last 20 years. Importantly, Montana’s use of mail ballots during the recent primary election did not give rise to a single report of voter fraud,” Christensen wrote.  “Thus, there is no record of election fraud in Montana’s recent history, and it is highly unlikely that fraud will occur during the November 3, 2020 general election. This is fact, which should provide comfort to all Montanans, regardless of their political persuasion, that between now and November 3, 2020 they will be participating in a free, fair, and efficient election.”

Judge Christensen denied the plaintiff's’ requests for injunctive, declaratory, or any other form of relief. He further ordered all pending motions are denied.

Bullock praised the ruling:

He said the idea the election would be “ripe with fraud” was “fiction”. Christensen also upheld Bullock's authority to issue a directive in August giving counties the option to vote-by-mail.

“There is nothing more sacred in our democracy than the right to vote and no duty of government more important than to keep its citizens safe,” said Gov. Bullock. “I’m pleased that today’s decision will enable hundreds of thousands of Montanans to vote safely – in person or by mail – this coming election. Montanans can rest assured that our local election administrators will preserve the security and integrity of the election process.”

Forty-five of Montana's 56 counties will mail ballots to voters in early October, although most are making provisions for some limited in-person voting, or the ability to drop off ballots.

Also, Bullock hit Daines this week hard in their recent debate:

The governor said Republicans including Daines want to roll back provisions of the Affordable Care Act that are key to making sure people have access to care.

“I’ll protect your access to health care, even in the middle of the pandemic,” Bullock said, noting that the issue was coming up soon in a case before the Supreme Court.

Democrats have warned that federal Judge Amy Coney Barrett, the nominee to replace the recently-deceased Ruth Bader Ginsburg, could tip the high court against the health care law.

But Daines said it was “unlikely” justices would overturn the health law. He said the prime considerations in choosing a justice are protecting Second Amendment gun rights and ending lawsuits that have blocked energy and logging projects.

“We have to have a U.S. Supreme Court Justice that will protect our way of life,” he said. “I’ll be standing behind the amazing nominee, Amy Coney Barrett.”

Bullock knows how to kick ass and get results. Let’s send him to the U.S. Senate and keep up the momentum to flip Montana Blue. Click below to donate and get involved with Bullock, Cooney, Biden and their fellow Montana Democrats campaigns:

Joe Biden

Steve Bullock for Senate

Mike Cooney for Governor

Kathleen Williams for Congress

Raph Graybill for Attorney General

Bryce Bennett for Secretary of State

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