Please see the below statement from Kiersten Iwai, Executive Director:
Over the past week, dedicated elections officials across the state have been counting ballots cast in the 2022 Montana General Election. Some races were determined by dozens of votes (or even less!) which is why it’s important to wait for every last vote to be counted.
Turnout rate for this election is 61.3%, which is 10% lower than Montana’s last midterm election in 2018 (71.53%). Still, nearly half a million voters made their voices heard in a midterm without a U.S. Senate seat on the ballot. We even saw lots of young voters utilizing Election Day registration! This is a tool we fought hard for in the courts this year.
Ultimately, the outcome of the election was filled with many stories: historic moments, big wins, and big losses.
Long story short? Republicans gained a supermajority in the Montana legislature. This wasn’t the outcome we hoped for, but one we’ve prepared for.
A supermajority means that one party holds more than 100 of the 150 seats in the legislature, giving them the ability to override vetoes from the Governor and call for changes to the Montana State Constitution.
That last part? That’s scary. Our constitution protects the right to a clean and healthful environment and the right to privacy, including abortion access. Voters will have to approve any proposed changes to the constitution, which will make our work on the ground in 2023 even more important.
Justice Ingrid Gustafson was re-elected to the Supreme Court and LR-131 failed by a significant margin, firmly demonstrating that when it comes to the issues protected in our constitution, Montanans hold shared values. Voters also sent the state’s first trans woman and trans nonbinary legislators (shout out to Zooey Zephry and SJ Howell!) to Helena. This is incredible!
And this is where we can find shared hope.
While we know challenges await us at the 2023 legislative session, we will organize with and for you to combat bills and rhetoric that are anti-trans, unfairly target young Montanans, and threaten our democracy. We have been building our capacity for this moment, and we are ready to make sure your voices are heard throughout all of our democratic processes, every step of the way.
So rest up, we’ve got work to do.
Forward Montana Team