Return to News Apr 11, 2022

Montana Democrats Secure Injunctions Against Voter Suppression Laws

The Montana Democratic Party and a Montana voter, both represented by Elias Law Group LLP, have successfully sought an injunction against four voter suppression laws. In a new victory for voting rights in Montana, a state trial court has temporarily blocked the laws from being enforced as the Montana Democrats seek their permanent invalidation. 

When Montana passed laws that made it harder for Native Americans, low-income voters, the elderly, disabled individuals, and young Montanans to cast ballots, voters across the state filed suit to defend their fundamental rights. The plaintiffs represented by Elias Law Group and Matt Gordon of Perkins Coie LLP, joined by the ACLU, ACLU of Montana, Western Native Voice, Montana Youth Action, Upper Seven Law, and the Election Law Clinic at Harvard Law School, argued that these unconstitutional laws should be temporarily blocked to avoid irreparable harm to Montana voters. This week, the court agreed.  

Elias Law Group attorney Hal Brewster celebrated the victory for democracy. 

“In blocking these dangerous laws, the Court credited the evidence we offered demonstrating the burden these laws would have had on Montanans’ right to vote,” Brewster said. “We look forward to proving our full case in June, when a full trial on the merits is scheduled in Billings.” 

The ruling comes after a preliminary injunction hearing was held on March 10 in Montana Democratic Party v. Jacobsen, a consolidated lawsuit that includes Western Native Voice v. Jacobsen and Montana Youth Action v. Jacobsen. The plaintiffs in the consolidated case collectively sought to block four laws that seek to eliminate election day voter registration, narrow eligible voter IDs, and ban certain types of ballot assistance. 

Following evidence presented during the hearing, the court concluded that the plaintiffs are likely to prove that the challenged laws impose undue burdens on the right to vote, particularly for students and Native Americans, and that some of the laws treat different classes of voters unequally. By blocking enforcement, the court has prevented potential injury to voters until the constitutionality of these laws can be determined on the merits at a trial later this year. 

In Montana and around the nation, states are attempting to dismantle crucial voter-registration methods, impose stricter ID requirements, limit ballot collection, and make the voting process difficult for new voters. Elias Law Group is proud to represent clients working to protect the right to vote and grateful for the entire team working in Montana, and looks forward to continuing this case and ensuring that all Montanans can fairly and freely cast ballots in November and beyond. 

Elias Law Group is a mission-driven firm committed to helping Democrats win, citizens vote, and progressives make change.

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Read the order here