Honest Elections Project Calls on Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte to Sign Election Integrity Bills

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte poses a question while taking part in a panel discussion during a Republican Governors Association conference, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

The Honest Elections Project Action is calling on Gov. Greg Gianforte (R-MT) to sign a pair of election integrity bills prohibiting ranked-choice voting and the private funding of elections in Montana.

“Honest Elections Project Action respectfully urges Governor Greg Gianforte to sign critical legislation banning ranked choice voting and private election funding that has been passed by the state legislature,” said the organization’s executive director, Jason Snead, in an emailed statement. 

House Bill 598 is a measure that would prohibit “the use of a ranked-choice voting method to elect or nominate a candidate” for office at any level. 

Ranked choice voting systems direct voters to select their first choice candidate and rank the remaining candidates in order of preference on primary and general election ballots. 

Alaskans, for instance, voted to adopt a ranked-choice voting system in 2020, in which votes are counted in rounds. If a candidate takes the majority of ballots in the first round, they win either the nomination or election. 

In instances where no candidate takes more than 50 percent of the vote, the candidate with the lowest total is removed, and their votes are reallocated to voters’ second-choice candidate under Alaska’s system. The process continues for additional rounds, if necessary, until someone secures a majority.

Additionally, Senate Bill 117 aims to prohibit the private funding of election operations in the Treasure State. This includes contributions or donations like “money, grants, property, or personal services from an individual or corporation” — regardless of whether it is for-profit or not — to aid a county or municipality with election responsibilities. 

There are three exceptions listed in the legislation. The first exemption notes the bill does not apply to “the donation or use of a location for voting purposes, services that are provided at no cost to the state, the secretary of state, a county, a municipality, or the officers or employees of those entities, or goods that have a nominal value of less than $100.”

Additionally, it does not restrict “tribal nations from providing donated space to be used as a polling location” or prevent them from “using their own funds, funds from other tribal nations, or funds from public entities such as the state or federal government for election purposes.”

While a spokesman for the governor told the Federalist he is against ranked-choice voting and private election funding, the individual “added that Gianforte will carefully review the bills, but did not say whether the governor would sign them,” wrote the Federalist’s Shawn Fleetwood.

Snead said the measures in both bills “would significantly boost voter trust in elections, and time is of the essence, particularly as the Center for Tech and Civic Life continues to pump millions of dollars of private, left-wing dark money into election administration offices.”

Facebook CEO and his wife Priscilla Chan dumped “hundreds of millions of ‘Zuckerbucks'” into the Center for Tech and Civic Life “for the purpose of getting out the vote in Democrat-leaning areas in the 2020 election,” as Breitbart News reported. The group has sent nearly $2.1 million in grants to Montana, the Capital Research Center reports.


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