Experts spar over impacts of contentious election laws | Politics

Political experts who study how and why people vote exchanged academic fire last week, as they took the witness stand in a trial to determine whether several new changes to Montana’s election laws pass constitutional muster.

The trial, which ended in Yellowstone County District Court last week after nine days, consisted of hours of testimony from election officials, politicians, activists and academics discussing the controversial new laws.

Nearly a dozen plaintiffs, including the Montana Democratic Party, are alleging that the GOP-backed changes to voting laws will disproportionately lower turnout for Native Americans, college students and other groups of voters. The laws, they argue, discriminate on the basis of age and race, and violate a number of rights enshrined in the state constitution.

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