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National Democrats funding Montana Native vote coordinator

| March 15, 2022 7:00 AM

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Democratic Party is hiring someone to work with tribes to help engage Native American voters, party executive director Sheila Hogan said.

The Democratic National Committee is paying for the new job through a grant program, the Great Falls Tribune reported.

"Our new Native Vote Coordinator will work closely with our Blue Bench program and our Democratic Tribal Committees to engage, train and turn out Native voters in every corner of the state," Hogan said in a statement Thursday.

The Blue Bench program helps recruit and train potential Democratic candidates and provide them with campaign advice.

The new job became available as the party is challenging a law passed by the Republican-controlled 2021 Legislature that banned paying people to collect voted absentee ballots and turn them in to county election offices.

The party and Montana tribes argue the new law creates a barrier for rural and low-income Native Americans to vote because they may lack regular mail service and may not have transportation to a voting site.

A similar voter-approved law that limited people to collecting no more than six voted ballots was declared unconstitutional in September 2020, in part because it made it more difficult for Native Americans to vote.