US Democrats Sue State of Montana Over Laws Targeting Student Election Activities

© AFP 2022 / MELISSA SUE GERRITSFAYETTEVILLE, NC - MARCH 03: Fayetteville State University students fill out ballots at Smith Recreation Center on March 3, 2020 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. 1,357 Democratic delegates are at stake as voters cast their ballots in 14 states and American Samoa on what is known as Super Tuesday.
FAYETTEVILLE, NC - MARCH 03: Fayetteville State University students fill out ballots at Smith Recreation Center on March 3, 2020 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. 1,357 Democratic delegates are at stake as voters cast their ballots in 14 states and American Samoa on what is known as Super Tuesday.   - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.10.2021
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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The Democratic Party in the state of Montana has filed a lawsuit in federal court that challenges a new law they claim prevents electoral activism on the state’s college campuses, court documents revealed on Tuesday.
“Not only does the student organizing ban prevent political committees from reaching college students in the area of campus where their efforts are likely to be the most fruitful, it also prohibits college students from engaging in core political speech - including organizing efforts - in conjunction with any political committee,” the court documents said.
The Democratic Party, joined by Montanans for Tester and a college student voter, filed the lawsuit against Secretary of State Christi Jacobson in the US District Court for the District of Montana.
The legislation, SB319, contains a section prohibiting voter identification efforts, registration drives, turnout efforts and signature or ballot collection efforts inside any dormitory, dining hall or gym operated by a public post-secondary institution.
The plaintiffs argue the legislation is unconstitutional, violating the First, Fourteenth and Twenty-Sixth Amendments that pertain to freedom of speech, equal protection under the law and the right to vote at 18 years of age, respectively.
The legislation is also being challenged in a state court on similar but separate grounds, namely that it violates several provisions of the Montana Constitution related to the legislative process used to pass the law.
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