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Empowering Young Voters

"Millennials, who already have surpassed Baby Boomers as the United States’ largest living generation, now have caught up to the Boomers when it comes to their share of the American electorate." - Pew Research Center

Young voters are now the largest voting block in the nation and MontPIRG is dedicated to making sure their voice is heard. For over 35 years, MontPIRG has worked to register young voters and get their ballots cast by making. Our goal is making voting more open and accessible to all Montanans because we know our democracy is strongest when everyone participates.

We know that engaging voters early will make them long-term participants in our democracy. That's why this work is so critical.

A 21st Century Democracy

We need to modernize voter registration so that all Montanans all Montanans can easily get access to our democracy. Our government has a responsibility to ensure that no eligible Montanan is prevented from voting due to errors or complex voter registration systems. Montana’s voter registration and voting systems need to be free of unnecessary barriers, encourage all eligible Montanans to vote, and protect voting rights.

MONTPIRG IS WORKING TO:

  • Enact Automatic voter registration
  • Defend same day voter registration
  • Stop onerous voter ID requirements
  • Support opportunities for Montanans to register to vote through online registration and voter registration drives
  • Stop voter suppression wherever it exists

After years of working to establish same day voter registration, MontPIRG and other voting rights advocates were able to get the Montana Legislature to pass a same day voter registration bill in 2005. The law now allows for voter registration up to and including Election Day. Since then, we have shown up in force to pass online voter registration and automatic voter registration. Montana must not be left in the dust while other states make voting accessible for everyone in their states.

OUR HISTORY OF STANDING UP FOR VOTING RIGHTS:

  • 1981-1986
    • MontPIRG supported campaign finance laws, specifically the PAC Limit Law
    • MontPIRG ensured access to same day voter registration
  • 1987-1991
    • MontPIRG continued its fight for campaign finance reform and removed significant barriers to voter registration
    • MontPIRG supported the passage of the Motor Voter Law in the 1991 legislative session, which expanded Montanans access to voter registration by giving every Montana driver an opportunity to register or re-register to vote when they apply for or renew their driver's license
    • MontPIRG led a major voter registration campaign on campus
  • 1992-2001
    • One of MontPIRG's proudest accomplishments, MontPIRG passed I-118, the first law in the nation to limit PAC contributions to state legislative campaigns in Montana
    • MontPIRG continued its robust, on campus voter registration campaign
    • MontPIRG continued to eliminate corporate influence in campaign by embarking on a state-wide road trip to qualify petitions against corporate spending in elections
  • 2002-2006
    • Voter registration
  • 2007-2014
    • Only two days before the November elections, MontPIRG registered hundreds of voters on the University of Montana campus and made over 5,000 voter contacts
    • During the 2008 election, MontPIRG made over 12,000 voter contacts
    • MontPIRG successfully blocked an attempt to require a Montana issued ID to participate in Montana elections
    • MontPIRG encouraged Governor Schweitzer to veto legislation that would have repealed same day voter registration
    • During the 2014 election, MontPIRG defended same day voter registration by knocking over 8,000 doors, collected over 7,000 pledges to vote 'no' on the referenda, and making over 23,000 phone calls
  • 2015-Present
    • During the 2015 legislative session, MontPIRG promoted to passage of the Montana DISCLOSE Act, a comprehensive campaign finance reform law
    • In 2016, MontPIRG's knocked over 23,000 doors, registered over 3,500 voters, distributed 3,000 voter guides, and made over 10,000 calls to voters for its Youth 12K campaign. The tireless efforts of the MontPIRG team during this campaign resulted in voter turnout amongst the young voters in Missoula county to increase by 7.4%, making young voters 19.2% of all votes cast in Missoula County. Because of MontPIRG, 1 in every 5 voters in Missoula county was a young voter.