Week 5 Bill Alert: HB 176

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Bill Alert: HB 176

We expect HB 176 "Close late voter registration on Friday before the election,” to be on the House floor soon. Click here to read this bill. Please contact the below legislators to tell them how you feel about the importance of late voting for people with disabilities across the state of Montana.

HB 176 Removes The Late Voter Registration Safety Net That Ensures That Montanans Do Not Lose the Ability To Vote Merely Because of Unanticipated Life Events.

The Montana Legislature passed late voter registration in 2005. Since that time, it has served as an important safety net for voters who, for various reasons, need to register within the 30 days prior to an election, including on election day.  Thousands of voters have used this option to register and cast a ballot since it was enacted. HB 176 would roll back late registration to the Friday prior to election day, eliminating same-day registration on election day.

Unpredictable life events can have the effect of denying someone the right to vote if we don’t have late registration.

Montanans highly value their right to vote, but sometimes unexpected life events can interfere with their ability to do so.  People with disabilities and their families are well aware that their treatment needs and circumstances are often not predictable, and do not respect the regular voter registration deadlines.

One such life event is a person’s hospitalization or transition to a congregate care setting such as assisted living or a nursing home.  Many people with disabilities and their families are well aware of the disruption and difficulties that this can cause. In some cases, people must receive this care in a different county than their home, either because of the need for specialized care, or for proximity to family and friends.

Although it may be impossible to prevent some disruption, the availability of late registration can help people retain their important right to participate in our democracy during these difficult times.  Disability Rights Montana has helped many patients register after the regular deadline to ensure that they didn’t lose their right to vote because they needed hospital care.

Eliminating late registration on election day makes it impossible to correct simple mistakes and errors in the registration process discovered on election day.

Please contact the following legislators in regard to HB 176:

  • Rep. Gregory Frazer - Gregory.Frazer@mtleg.gov

  • Rep. Casey Knudsen - caseyjknudsen@gmail.com

  • Rep. Frank Garner - frankgarnerhd7@gmail.com

  • Rep. Marta Bertoglio - marta.bertoglio@mtleg.gov

  • Rep. Denley Loge - Denleylogehd14@gmail.com

  • Rep. Edward Buttrey - ed.buttrey@mtleg.gov

  • Rep. Wendy McKamey - wsgmckamey@gmail.com

  • Rep. Bill Mercer - wwmercer406@gmail.com

  • Rep. Mallerie Stromswold - Mallerie.Stromswold@mtleg.gov

  • Rep. Ross Fitzgerald - ross.fitzgerald@mtleg.gov

  • Rep. Brian Putnam - brian.putnam@mtleg.gov

  • Rep. Tom Welch - tom.welch@mtleg.gov

  • Rep. Kathy Whitman - Kathy.Whitman@mtleg.gov

  • Rep. Mike Hopkins - Mike.Hopkins@mtleg.gov

  • Rep. Kenneth Walsh - kenneth.walsh@mtleg.gov

  • Rep. Kenneth Holmlund - Ken.holmlund@mtleg.gov

  • Rep.Sue Vinton - sue.vinton@mtleg.gov

  • Rep. Geraldine Custer - jericuster@yahoo.com


How to Contact Legislators During the Session

Online Messaging

Use the online messaging form to message a legislator (click button below). This is one of the quickest and most effective ways of contacting your legislator. 

Phone Call

Regular office hours during the session are 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to adjournment on Saturdays. Callers may leave messages for legislators or acquire general legislative information by calling the Information Desk at (406) 444-4800. Callers may leave messages for up to 5 individual legislators or 1 legislative committee per call.

Not sure who represents you in the Montana Legislature? Click Here 


To listen to audio/video streaming of committee hearings, click here.


Stay Informed

We will be posting an electronic newsletter each Friday during the 2021 legislative session. We will give you information about upcoming budget and general bill hearings, developments for other bills we are following and action alerts when these bills are coming up for votes.  


If you have accessibility needs and would like to receive the newsletter in another format, please contact Disability Rights Montana at advocate@disabilityrightsmt.org or call 800-245-4743.


Do You Have the Assistive Technology You Need to Participate in the 2021 Legislative Session?

Do you have what you need to share your story or voice support of bills that impact the lives of Montanans with disabilities? Borrow equipment from MonTECH for 30-60 days so you'll be prepared to write, call, or testify.

MonTECH houses a wide range of equipment to help you get connected. Borrow iPads, adapted keyboards, hands-free mice, laptops, wearable speakers, headphones, webcams, voice amplifiers, or devices that allow hands-free video calls with motion tracking. Spotty or nonexistent internet? If you’re in range of a cellular tower, borrow a Jetpack Mobile Hotspot and connect up to 15 devices! MonTECH provides free shipping and return shipping anywhere in Montana, and serves any Montanan who has a disability (including learning disabilities). The program is easy to use and does not require medical verification of a disability to borrow this type of equipment. Call or write if you have questions or need help accessing our program: montech@mso.umt.edu, 1-877-243-5511. We look forward to helping ensure you are heard during the 2021 legislative session!


Protection & Advocacy Service Training

We are more than happy to provide training and workshops to others. We welcome nonprofits, clients, workplaces, and more, to reach out to us if you would like for us to present about our services, and how we can provide assistance. Call 406-449-2344 or email Advocate@DisabilityRightsMT.org.


"Advocating for justice is our individual and collective responsibility."

Executive Director,
Disability Rights Montana
Bernie Franks-Ongoy



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Disability Rights Montana protects and advocates for the human, legal, and civil rights of Montanans with disabilities while advancing dignity, equality, and self-determination.

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Disability Rights Montana
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