Ballot Interfence Prevention Act trial continues for the third day

BILLINGS, Mont. - Arguments are continuing in Yellowstone County District Court over ballots. The case is over whether a person should be allowed, under Montana law to collect ballots and drop them off at polling locations. 

It's called the Ballot Interference Prevention Act, also known as BIPA.

The trial continued for day three this morning as attorneys crossed examined witnesses.

If BIPA becomes enforced there would be a restriction of only six ballots a person can turn in. Also, it would allow only friends, family members or acquaintances to turn in an absentee ballot for another person.

BIPA was originally passed in the 2018 election, but in May, Judge Jessica Fehr issued a temporary restraining order preventing the enforcement of the law just before this year's primary election in June.

The plaintiffs argue BIPA would affect the voting rights of Native Americans because many Native Americans on reservations rely on collectors to deliver their ballots. The state argues BIPA strengthens the integrity of the voting system and can deter voter fraud.

Today Montana's Director of Elections and Voter Services was questioned on the effectiveness of the law. Native American Rights Fund Staff Attorney Samantha Kelty asked Corson if a ballot is mailed to the proper place, and on time, it could go through 10 hands prior to being delivered, but still in compliance with BIPA. Corson answered that yes, it would still comply with the law.

A verdict in this trial has not yet been reached.

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