Tester Statement on Blocked Voting Rights Legislation

U.S. Senator Jon Tester today released the following statement after Senate Republicans blocked debate on compromise voting rights legislation:

“I voted to have a public debate about efforts to get dark money out of elections and protect access to the ballot box, and I’m disappointed many of my colleagues would rather put special interests ahead of a transparent debate on those critical issues. Free and fair elections are a cornerstone of our democracy, and Montana has some of the most secure elections in the country. Our state is already an example of how commonsense measures that protect our access to the ballot box like vote-by-mail, same-day registration, and early voting can be done safely, and I support continued access to those measures through this compromise legislation that maintains state control of our elections. Every eligible Montanan should be able to exercise their fundamental right to make their voice heard.”

The compromise voting legislation that Republicans blocked from debate today would have narrowed the For the People Act to better ensure that states like Montana maintain control of their elections. It simply:

  • Protects safe and secure voting provisions that have been in use in Montana for years like vote-by-mail and same-day registration.
  • Eliminates partisan gerrymandering, so that voters pick their elected official not the other way around.
  • Requires disclaimers on political ads to ensure they are honest. Gets dark money out of politics, and increases transparency requirements for political spending by corporations and other dark money groups so Montanans know who is trying to influence government officials.
  • Increases election security by helping states increase their cybersecurity and ensuring foreign nationals aren’t allowed to interfere in our elections.

Tester has helped lead the fight to ensure every eligible Montanan can cast their ballot safely and securely and to root dark money out of politics. He is a cosponsor of the Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections (DISCLOSE) Act which would keep foreign actors from participating in American elections, increase transparency for major donors who contribute to electioneering groups, and require disclaimers on political ads, including digital ads, purchased by corporations, unions, and other nonprofit organizations.

He also introduced his Spotlight Act to shine a light on dark money political donors and hold the government accountable to enforce our nation’s campaign finance laws by requiring certain tax-exempt organizations that engage in political activity to disclose their donors to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), reversing a Trump-era rule that eliminated the requirement and allowed such organizations to keep their donors secret.