Montana Republicans are challenging the eligibility of thousands of voters in the state, only weeks before the November election. The state GOP says it compared the names of voters in seven counties against a national change of address database, and found that six thousand of them had filed forms with the U.S. Postal Service indicating that they'd moved somewhere else. Bridger Pierce, communications director for the state party, says Republicans are just trying to protect against voter fraud, and if the challenged voters can show they're still registered in the right place, they'll have no problem on Election Day.
But The Missoulian, a local newspaper, notes that most of the challenged voters are in Democratic strongholds. Pierce says that's because that's where most of the problems are, but voting rights advocates say it's an effort by Republicans to suppress the vote and cause confusion on Election Day. Teresa James, an attorney with the national group Project Vote called the challenges "baseless" and said they're "just the latest in a long series of voter caging operations designed to intimidate voters and winnow voting lists to the challengers' liking."
Meanwhile, county election officials are busy trying to notify the challenged voters so they have a chance to straighten things out by Election Day. This could be the beginning of similar challenges around the country.