Tester sponsors bill to strengthen Montanans’ voting rights

“Voting Rights Advancement Act” also expands voter protections in Indian Country

(U.S. Senate)-Senator Jon Tester is sponsoring legislation to strengthen Montanans’ voting rights and expand voter protections in Indian Country.

The Voting Rights Advancement Act will ensure ballots can be translated into Native languages while promoting equal opportunities to register and vote on and off Indian Reservations. The bill will also roll back the harmful changes the Supreme Court made to the Voting Rights Act in 2013 and require states that have committed voting violations to consult with the Justice Department before changing voting laws.

“Keeping folks from exercising their constitutional right to vote is shameful and un-American,” said Tester, Vice-Chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. “This bill protects those who have too often been marginalized and disenfranchised at the voting booth and guarantees that everyone can have a fair say in their government.”

In July, Tester introduced the Native American Voting Rights Act, which requires states to establish early voting sites on or near reservations and directs state election administrators to mail absentee ballots to the homes of all registered voters on reservations if requested by the tribe.

The Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Native American Voting Rights Act are both endorsed by the National Congress of American Indians.