The Republican National Committee (RNC), Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Montana Republican State Central Committee sued Montana Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock on Wednesday over his Aug. 6 executive order that expands universal mail-in voting.
“Yet another Democrat Governor – who conveniently is running for election – is using the coronavirus as a power grab to take control of Montana’s elections in the name of ‘health,'” said RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel in a statement. “This rushed and unconstitutional directive creates a patchwork election code with no uniform procedures across the state, automatically mails ballots to voters, and invites fraud, manipulation and administrative chaos. Upending our elections process in the 11th hour is a recipe for disaster.”
The Aug. 6 executive order expands mail-in voting so that “no Montanan will have to choose between their vote or their health.” The order allows counties, at their discretion, to expand mail-in and early voting and intends to “shift the default position from voting in person to voting by mail.”
Allowing all-mail voting means counties are allowed to send ballots to every voter, according to the Associated Press. The order also mandates that voters who choose to vote in-person register to do so at least 10 days before Nov. 3 to limit potential spread of COVID-19.
However, the lawsuit alleges this order creates “a patchwork election code that has varying deadlines and procedures across Montana’s 56 counties.”
“By allowing vote-by-mail ballots to be automatically sent to every voter…he created a recipe for disaster. Rushing to automatically mail ballots to all voters invites fraud, coercion, theft, and otherwise illegitimate voting. Fraudulent and invalid votes dilute the votes of honest citizens and deprive them of their rights under the Fourteenth Amendment,” the lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit points to reports indicating that states become susceptible to voter fraud when using vote-by-mail systems. (RELATED: FLASHBACK 2012: NYT Reports Flaws, Fraud With ‘Mail In’ Ballots ‘Could Well Affect Outcomes This Fall’)
According to the 2006 U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Briefing Report, absentee ballot use “is vulnerable to abuse in several ways: Blank ballots mailed to the wrong address or to large residential buildings might get intercepted. Citizens who vote at home, at nursing homes, at the workplace, or in church are more susceptible to pressure, overt or subtle, or to intimidation.”
A 2010 study by the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project found approximately 9% of listed voter registrations in the United States are invalid, and that “in the typical state 1 in 65 records is duplicative, meaning that the same registrant is listed multiple times.”
The lawsuit claims it is up to the state legislature to direct Montana elections and make any changes to the electoral structure, with Matthew Morgan, Trump 2020 General Counsel, saying the changes would “stack the deck for his [Bullock] own Senate race.” Bullock is running in a highly competitive race for U.S Senate this November.