Former Montana State Representative Kevin Furey, a First Lieutenant in the Army Reserves, is presently in New Jersey preparing to return to Iraq. The reward for his service? Try disenfranchisement. At least that's what it could be if an error-laden effort by the Montana Republican Party to purge the voter rolls were to go forward.
As is too often the case with targeted, partisan efforts to challenge voters and get them purged from the rolls, an effort by the Montana Republican Party this week ostensibly aimed voter fraud appears to be, in the words of Matt Singer of the non-partisan Forward Montana, actually little more than an effort to "suppress the vote, targeting counties with large Indian, student, and low-income populations."
Today, Lieutenant Furey released the following statement:
It is ironic that at the same time I am about to return to Iraq to help build a democracy that my own right to vote is being challenged at home for partisan purposes. These challenges are a blatant and offensive attempt to suppress the rights of voters.
Earlier this week, the state GOP sent letters to seven counties in the Big Sky state, challenging the eligibility of some 6,000 voters, including 3,400 voters in Missoula County, which includes one of the state's two universities.
Ian Marquand, of Montana's News Station reports that state Democratic Party officials are "reviewing legal options and might try to halt the challenges of some 6,000 voters in seven counties" but that "time is running out since county election officials have [only] until Monday to mail notification letters to affected voters."
Meanwhile, this independent audit of Montana's 2006 elections (previously released by Montana Secretary of State Brad Johnson) showed, in Singer's words "absolutely no evidence of voter fraud."
The Brennan Center's report debunking the voter fraud myth—and so-called "cures" that often lead to substantial, and sometimes intentional, disenfranchisement of eligible voters—is available at Truth About Fraud.
And this week, the Brennan Center released a groundbreaking new report, Voter Purges which was featured in this report on Tuesday's CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, and which is one of the first examinations of the practices of purging voters from the rolls. In addition to detailing severe problems of transparency and accuracy, the report includes recommendations to reduce the occurrence of erroneous purges and protect eligible voters from erroneous purges.