A reality based independent journal of observation & analysis, serving the Flathead Valley & Montana since 2006. © James Conner.

9 March 2017

Will the Montana Legislature inflict child election judges on voters?

This could be the year that the no one is too young to be an adult wing of the Democratic Party wins its fight to have schoolchildren help administer elections. House Bill 86, carried by Deer Lodge Democrat Kathy Swanson, legalizes Youth Election Judges. HB-86 passed the Montana House of Representatives on 16 February, 53–46, with one absence. All 41 Democrats voted for the bill. Twelve Republicans, including Kalispell’s Frank Garner, also voted Aye. The bill was heard yesterday in the Senate’s state administration committee by the great minds that want to repeal Daylight Saving Time.

Here are the bill’s salient sections:

Section 13-1-101 MCA:

(54) “Youth election judge” means an individual who serves as an election judge and who is:

  1. at least 16 years of age but less than 18 years of age at the time of an election in which the individual serves as an election judge;
  2. a resident of the state of Montana and the county in which the individual serves as an election judge; and
  3. a citizen of the United States.”

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Section 13-4-107. Qualifications of election judges. (1) Election judges shall must be:
  1. qualified registered electors of the county and of the precinct in which they serve, except as provided in 13-4-102(4); or
  2. youth election judges.

(2) An individual seeking appointment as a youth election judge must have:

  1. written consent of a parent or legal guardian; and
  2. written consent from the individual’s school principal if the individual is a student of a public or private school.

Voting is an adult activity that must be administered only by adults. The place for children under 18 is in school, where their still developing minds and personas can receive proper instruction. That the Democratic Party, the party that most vigorously opposes child labor, believes employing children as election judges is a good idea boggles one’s mind.

HB-86 must be killed in the Senate. If it passes, Democratic Governor Steve Bullock surely will sign it with great fanfare and surrounded by children.