In March 2020, the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Montana, and Native American Rights Fund challenged the Montana Ballot Interference Prevention Act (BIPA), a law that severely restricts Native Americans’ access to the ballot.
The lawsuit, Western Native Voice v. Stapleton, will go to trial on Tuesday, Sept. 8.
The lawsuit was brought on behalf of Western Native Voice and Montana Native Vote, Native American-led organizations focused on getting out the vote and increasing civic participation in the Native American community; and the Assiniboine & Sioux Tribes of Fort Peck, Blackfeet Nation, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation, Crow Tribe, and Fort Belknap Indian Community.
WHAT: Trial, Western Native Voice v. Stapleton
WHEN: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 8 through Friday, Sept. 11
WHERE: Yellowstone County District Court, 217 N. 27th Street, Billings
*There is no option to watch this trial virtually. Please check with the court and follow social distancing guidelines.
The lawsuit charges BIPA with violating the voting and due process rights of individuals living on reservations, as well as the free speech and association rights of Western Native Voice and Montana Native Vote as they engage in ballot collection on reservations. In July 2020, the court granted a preliminary injunction, blocking the law.