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Montana Republicans win wild legislative session, tighten election laws

Despite loud protests and efforts to stall by Democrats, Republican proposals to tighten voter registration and restrict the rights of third parties in general elections passed Friday in Montana. 

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Montana Senate Democrats stand in protest on Friday, in Helena, Mont. Republicans ignored Democratic attempts to stall votes until all members are present, allowing key GOP-backed legislation to clear a procedural deadline. (AP Photo/Kathryn Haake)

Kathryn Haake/AP

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Over loud objections from Democrats, Montana's Republican-controlled Senate on Friday voted to put proposals on the 2014 ballot that would tighten voter registration and restrict the rights of third parties to compete in general elections.

The measures, which are expected to be approved by the Republican-majority House, do not need approval from the Democratic governor. They would go before Montana voters in November of next year.

Democrats tried to stall action on the bills through a rarely used parliamentary procedure, demanding that the vote be delayed until a missing Democratic senator was found and brought into the chamber.

But Republicans moved forward anyway, prompting Democrats to leap to their feet, shout objections and pound on their desks with everything from coffee mugs to copies of the Montana constitution.

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