HELENA, Mont.- House Bill 176 was narrowly passed by the House State Admin Committee 10-9 this week. If it moves on, your voter registration process could change significantly.
This means same day voter registration could be coming to an end, which critics say may cause lower voter turnout numbers in rural Montana next election cycle.
"They're making it harder to vote," explained Keaton Sunchild, Political Director with the Western Native Voice.
The bill would close later voter registration on the Friday before an election. Montanans have been able to sign up to vote day-of since 2005.
Close to 2,000 people across the state signed up to vote for the Presidential Election on November 3,2020.
"It's no secret that they have to travel long distances to vote and specifically to get registered to vote. A lot of tribal businesses and offices are closed on Election Day," said Sunchild.
Now people living in rural areas and on reservations are concerned about how they'll sign up to vote in the future.
"For a lot of people Election Day means going to the polls and if it's your first time voting, you're going to have to get registered," said Sunchild.
Sunchild adds, he believes the current plan is smooth and the bill could make the voting process more difficult for some people in less populated areas because tribal offices are often closed on Election Day.
If the bill is passed, Montanans would have to prepare all of their registration items well ahead of Election Day. House Bill 176 is set to move onto the House for a final vote and could end up on Governor Gianforte's desk to sign off before becoming official.