Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock speaking in Iowa in 2019. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Trump campaign and Republican National Committee sued the state of Montana on Wednesday in an attempt to limit mail-in voting in the state, just 61 days before the election.

Why it matters: The suit, which alleges that Gov. Steve Bullock's recent mail-in voting expansion would weaken the state's election system, isn't the first GOP effort to curb mail-in ballots. President Trump baselessly criticizes voting by mail, saying it's prone to widespread fraud.

  • The president's re-election campaign also sued New Jersey and Nevada last month over a law that will automatically send voters mail-in ballots, CNN reports.

Context: Bullock (D) issued a directive last month allowing counties to expand mail-in and early voting because of the coronavirus pandemic.

What they're saying: "The Governor's inconsistency, coupled with the Election Directive's timing amid a nationwide push by the Democratic Party for the same measures, clearly reveals that the Election Directive is less about protecting the health of Montanans and more about enhancing the Governor's electoral prospects, along with those of his political party," the lawsuit says.

  • "Yet another Democrat Governor — who conveniently is running for election — is using the coronavirus as a power grab to take control of Montana's elections in the name of 'health,'" RNC chair Ronna McDaniel said in a statement.
    • "This rushed and unconstitutional directive creates a patchwork election code with no uniform procedures across the state, automatically mails ballots to voters and invites fraud, manipulation and administrative chaos."
    • "Upending our elections process in the 11th hour is a recipe for disaster."

The other side: “This template lawsuit appears to be part of a pattern of lawsuits across the country by Republican Party operatives to limit access to voting during the pandemic,” Bullock said in a statement, per AP. “Voting by mail in Montana is safe, secure, and was requested by a bipartisan coalition of Montana election officials seeking to reduce the risk of COVID-19 and keep Montanans safe and healthy.”

Go deeper

The cracks in Trump’s GOP shield

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

President Trump’s mockery of coronavirus masks, his false claims about the dangers of voting by mail and his insinuations that a cable TV nemesis was involved in a murder are testing more high-profile Republicans' willingness to look the other way.

The big picture: Republicans learned a long time ago how dangerous it is to alienate Trump’s base — which is why any hint of disagreement, even a whisper, is so remarkable when it happens.

Special report on virus-era voting: Prepare for unprecedented threats

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

With rare, if not unprecedented, agreement, President Trump, Joe Biden, intelligence officials and Big Tech CEOs are all warning of threats to accurate and trusted vote counts before, on and after election day. 

American elections face a triple threat in 2020: 

  • Foreign governmentsespecially Russia, China and Iran — are actively spreading misinformation via social platforms.

The top Republicans who aren't voting for Trump in 2020

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said last week that he cannot support President Trump's re-election.

Why it matters: Hogan, a moderate governor in a blue state, joins other prominent Republicans who have publicly said they will either not vote for Trump's re-election this November or will back Biden.