THE CHAIRMAN'S REPORT
Jeff Essmann, Chairman
February 21, 2017
 
Emergency Chairman’s Report on the Long term negative impact on the Montana Republican Party and Republican candidates due to Mail Ballot Elections

Dear Republican Friends,

I am writing today to outline why I am opposing the Mail Ballot Bill introduced just last Friday as SB 305. While I believe it has been introduced on behalf of many County Commissioners who wish to reduce the fiscal impact to their county budgets of the special election to replace Congressman Zinke, the bill will have long term negative impacts to the future election prospects of Republicans at all levels in Montana. So here are my reasons:

All mail ballots give the Democrats an inherent advantage in close elections due to their ability to organize large numbers of unpaid college students and members of public employee unions to gather ballots by going door to door.

Here are the facts:

Data indicates that a vote-by-mail law in Montana would favor Democrats for two primary reasons.

1. Early Mail Voting Favors Democrats

Data from Montana in the 2016 cycle showed Democrats dominated early voting. Democrat candidates for President, Congress and Governor consistently over-performed among voters who said they had already cast their ballots.

Already Voted

 

       

Not Voted

 

Avg. of GOP candidates

Avg. of Dem. candidates

NET GOP

Avg. of GOP candidates

Avg. of Dem. candidates

NET GOP

39%

49%

-10

44%

39%

+5

2. Lower Propensity Voters Favor Democrat Candidates
Vote-by-mail is designed to increase participation rates of lower propensity voters. Democrats in Montana perform better than Republican candidates among lower propensity voters and Republican candidates do better among higher propensity voters.  

0-1/4 Voters

 

3-4/4 Voters

 

Avg. of GOP candidates

Avg. of Dem. candidates

NET GOP

Avg. of GOP candidates

Avg. of Dem. candidates

NET GOP

33%

44%

-11

45%

42%

+3


If you need proof that George Soros backed groups are organizing to manipulate our special election, check out this recent email and the funding source behind them outlined in this news link: Obama’s Organizing for Action Partners with Soros-Linked ‘Indivisible’ to Disrupt Trump’s Agenda.
 

If you remember back to Senator Conrad Burns' loss of his reelection in 2006 by 3562 votes you should know that Senator Burns won the most votes that were cast on Election Day. He actually lost the election in votes that were cast by mail prior to Election Day. So the urban myth that he lost the election due to same day registration and voting is incorrect. He lost because of all the mail ballots that had been painstakingly gathered by Democrat front groups in the weeks leading up to Election Day. Democrat advantage.

As drafted, SB 305 will do nothing to prevent possible Election Day voting problems. SB 305 is not really a bill for an “all mail” ballot election. Close reading of the bill reveals that it really just permits a county by county decision on whether to hold a mail ballot election. So not all counties would be required to use the same process.

That would permit counties where there is a desire for satellite polling places, like in many of our counties where our Indian reservations exist, to continue to use polling places and deal with the attendant problems of same day voter registration and identification. Democrat advantage.

Democrats have an inherent financial advantage when it comes to party political operations in Montana. The Montana Democrat Party raised and spent over $7 million dollars in the last election cycle. Their allies spent another $2.4 million that we are aware of. The Montana Republican Party was able to raise and spend only about $1 million. We simply do not have access to millions of dollars of Union PAC money that the Democrats do. They gather checks from multiple committees around the country at the $10,000 maximum while we are raising money from the grassroots at $50 to $100 at a time. There is no way we can keep up with them if we have to raise money to overcome the inherent advantage they would obtain with mail ballot elections. Democrat advantage.

This will not be the end of efforts to go to a mail ballot election where the Democrats want one and the Republicans do not. MACO and the County Election administrators have favored Mail Ballot elections in past sessions and will do so again. If they succeed in this effort this time they will use it as an example of success and will work to make it permanent. Democrat advantage.

I know that my position will not be popular with many fiscally conservative Republican County Commissioners or the sponsor of House Bill 305. They may be well intended, but this bill could be the death of our effort to make Montana a reliably Republican state. It is my job to remind us all of the long term strategic advantage that passage of this bill would provide to our Democrat opponents for control of our legislature and our statewide elected positions.

Please contact your legislator and ask them to vote NO on SB 305. You can click on this link to the legislature so you can email your state representative and senator and urge them to vote NO on SB 305. If you would rather pick up the phone and leave them a message, the number to call is (406) 444-4800.

Thank you for all you do to support our Montana Republican Party.

Sincerely,

Jeff Essmann
Chairman, MTGOP

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