PNS National Newscast

Audio Activation
"Siri, play the Public News Service (podcast)"
"Hey Google, play the Public News Service podcast"
"Alexa, play Public News Service podcast"
or "Alexa, what's my news flash?" once you set it up in the Alexa app


Audio Activation
"Siri, play the 2020Talks podcast"
"Hey Google, play the 2020Talks podcast"
"Alexa, play Two-Thousand-Twenty Talks podcast"
or "Alexa, what's my news flash?" once you set it up in the Alexa app


PNS Daily Newscast - May 14, 2021 

Backers of electric vehicles say southeastern gas shortage highlights need to diversify U.S. energy system; more than 40 attorneys general urge Facebook to stop plans to create kids' version of Instagram.

2021Talks - May 14, 2021 

People who've been vaccinated can ditch their masks; Biden says fuel shortages are only temporary; and Republicans press for ending federal pandemic unemployment payments.

MT Voting-Access Bills Create Barriers for People with Disabilities

Downloading Audio

Click to download

We love that you want to share our Audio! And it is helpful for us to know where it is going.
Media outlets that are interested in downloading content should go to
Click Here if you do not already have an account and need to sign up.
Please do it now, as the option to download our audio packages is ending soon

More than a quarter of Montana adults have at least one disability. ( Stock)
More than a quarter of Montana adults have at least one disability. ( Stock)
 By Eric Tegethoff - Producer, Contact
April 8, 2021

HELENA, Mont. -- Advocates said some bills in Montana will make it harder for people with disabilities to vote.

Election integrity and security have been top priorities for Montana lawmakers this session.

House Bill 176 ends voter registration on the day of elections. It passed both chambers last week.

Beth Brenneman, staff attorney for Disability Rights Montana, said it presents a major hurdle to people with difficult health concerns.

"Voting is not the primary concern," Brenneman asserted. "They very much believe in voting, but their health care has to come first, and so having that last day to be able to register and vote is really critical when somebody has been dealing with complicated health issues."

House Bill 176 moves the deadline for late voter registration to the Monday before an election. Supporters say it will decrease the workload for officials on election day.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than a quarter of Montana adults have at least one disability.

Another bill that could hinder voting access is House Bill 406, which would curtail ballot-collection services.

Disability Rights Montana staff often act as agents for people who aren't able to drop off their ballots and Brenneman cautioned it's unclear if the group still could do this under the bill.

Brenneman gave an example of how the bill would make it harder for a man they helped in the last election who is a multiple amputee, who has difficulty writing and getting out of his apartment.

"It wouldn't have allowed us to deliver that ballot to the election office after we helped him fill it out," Brenneman explained. "And he has the right to vote. So, I mean, those sorts of thing happen all the time."

A Montana judge struck down a similar law in the lead-up to the 2020 election.

But Brenneman noted there have been some victories. The governor signed Senate Bill 15 into law last month, ensuring funding for voter-accessibility machines. There is also House Bill 643, which allows electronic submission of ballots.

Brenneman said voters with disabilities can fill out their ballots electronically, but it requires a printer to submit them.

"They could choose to return it electronically," Brenneman remarked. "Which makes a whole lot more sense, frankly, and would make it just like the military voters' federal law."

Support for this reporting was provided by The Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Best Practices