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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Libertarian Roger Roots Will Remain On Ballot, Supreme Court Rules

Voting booths at the Missoula Library.
Josh Burnham
Montana Public Radio

The Montana Supreme Court has ruled to keep a Libertarian candidate for secretary of state on November's election ballots. The justices, in a 5-to-1 decision, denied Montana Republican Party Chairman Jeff Essmann's request to remove Roger Roots as a candidate.

Roots is a long-shot candidate for the open seat against Republican Corey Stapleton and Democrat Monica Lindeen.

Essmann argued Roots was not eligible because he had failed to file campaign finance disclosures.

Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl says Roots filed the documents, though some were late and one was lost.

Motl praised the court’s decision.

"There is an orderly way that  the process by which the commissioner acts on behalf of the public works; there is a time period and a method for doing that. And if somebody has a concern about that, that is the time period when they need to come in. They can’t come in later and try to disrupt the entire election process, as Mr. Essman did here."

Today's majority opinion by Justice Patricia Cotter says that halting the printing of ballots at this late stage would compromise the election process.

Essmann says the election is already compromised with Roots on the ballot.

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