In Montana, as the Missoula Independent's Jimmy Tobias explains, Tea Party legislators' tri-corner hats are made of tin foil:
The event, titled "How to Reclaim Montana's Lands," opened with a prayer by former Tea Party state legislator Derek Skees and included speeches by Rep. Nancy Ballance, R-Hamilton, and Sen. Jennifer Fielder, R-Thompson Falls, who also serves as vice chairwoman of the Montana Republican Party. [Defend Rural America founder Kirk] MacKenzie introduced himself as "one of the few good ones" from the San Francisco Bay Area (laughter all around), and then dove into the substance of his speech...
He believes that rural America is under attack by an insidious cartel of leftists, bureaucrats, bankers and phony scientists who use federal lands and laws like the Endangered Species Act to enact an oppressive agenda. "Total control of public and private property everywhere in the country," he said...
Democrats are looking to take advantage of the 2014 election to make gains in Big Sky Country. According to an article in The Missoulian, "For the first time in the party’s history, the Montana Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee has hired a full-time, year-round director. In the past, it was a temporary job lasting six to nine months in an election year."
In the space of less than a day, Montana Senate Republicans rushed through yet another attempt to abolish Election Day voter registration. Senate Bill 405 "would ask voters to eliminate same-day voter registration" and "was heard late Wednesday afternoon but was given very little notice" before a party-line, Thursday vote. But instead of going to the Governor's desk where past voter suppression bills have met a Democratic veto, SB 405 would instead take the form of a popular referendum if the state House agrees as well.
This circumvention of normal checks and balances has been a favorite tactic of Montana Republicans, who last session rushed through a series of referenda for the same reason, which "led to a very long ballot in the 2012 election." Another ballot larded with Tea Party referenda, combined with thousands of voters suddenly finding that their right to correct their registration at the polls has been taken away, would pretty much guarantee snarled polling places as soon as SB 405 went into effect.
Since his election in 2010, Montana Republican state Rep. Steve Lavin has been a consistent enemy of voting rights... for people. Just this month, he voted yet again to abolish Election Day voter registration. But Lavin's clear disdain for people's voting rights hasn't stopped him from filing new legislation extending voting rights to corporations.
Lavin's recently-filed HB 486 declares that "if a firm, partnership, company, or corporation owns real property within the municipality, the president, vice president, secretary, or other designee of the entity is eligible to vote in a municipal election as provided in [section 1] (...) on behalf of the entity."