The ACLU of Montana filed an amicus brief in this case challenging the legality of a legislative referendum seeking to do away with same-day voter registration in Montana. The challenge was based on the Montana Constitution which provides: “Each bill, except general appropriation bills and bills for the codification and general revision of the laws, shall contain only one subject, clearly expressed in its title. If any subject is embraced in any act and is not expressed in the title, only so much of the act not so expressed is void.” The Petitioners challenged the referendum because the title stated, in part, that it was “ensuring compliance with the National Voter Registration Act.” In fact Montana already complies with the NVRA, and would continue to comply with NVRA whether or not the referendum passes. The Petitioners alleged that this language in the title would be misleading and confusing to the voters, wrongfully implying that the referendum was necessary to bring Montana into compliance with federal law.  On Feb. 5, 2014, the Court ruled the title of LR 126 was confusing to the public, but did not agree to remove it from the ballot.  Instead it sent the measure back to the AG to draft a new explanatory statement.

 

Attorney(s)

Jim Taylor

Pro Bono Law Firm(s)

John M. Morrison and Frederick F. Sherwood (Morrison, Sherwood Wilson & Deola, Helena)

Date filed

Court

Supreme Court of the State of Montana

Case number

OP 13-0808

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