Challengers to voter ID laws should more often look to Montana’s constitutional right-to-vote clause. None of the possible explanations for why the right has been cited so infrequently bar it from being raised by future litigants. However, though there is no formal requirement under Montana law that cases challenging voter ID laws be brought in any particular fashion, it may need to be cited with other constitutional provisions. Article II, section 13 does little on its own given the frequent references to “supplementing” and “augmenting” the right. The history of the right, the way similar constitutional provisions are interpreted in other states, and the inherent ambiguity in the phrase support this hybrid approach. If the scope of the right to vote were defined more broadly, it could be used in a variety of circumstances, such as to challenge the consolidation of polling places. Litigants should push courts to interpret the right to vote so that it can be used effectively in subsequent challenges to laws impinging on voters’ rights.
The Right of Suffrage in Montana: Voting Protections under the State Constitution,
2 Mont. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.law.umt.edu/mlr/vol74/iss2/8