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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Montana Dems' Lawsuit Against Green Party Back In Court Thursday

Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton, far left, with attorney Emily Jones, on his left, at the Lewis and Clark County courthouse on April 28, 2018. At the podium, Democratic Party Attorney Kevin Hamilton is arguing a case challenging Green Party a
Corin Cates-Carney
Democratic Party Attorney Kevin Hamilton arguing a case challenging Green Party access to the ballot at the Lewis and Clark County courthouse Tuesday, April 24, 2018.

The court case brought by Democrats challenging the Green Party’s access to the 2018 election ballot in Montana will resume this Thursday under review of a new judge.

Democrats allege Montana’s Republican Secretary of State erred in certifying the Green Party for the ballot.

While Stapleton announced in mid-march that the Green Party received enough voter signatures in their petition to appear on the ballots this year, Democrats say some of those signatures shouldn't have counted.

Democrats made their case in Lewis and Clark County District Court in late April. However further hearings stalled when the Green party asked for the case to be moved into federal court.

A federal judge quickly rejected that request.

The Green Party also asked for a new judge to hear the case.

The case will resume at 1:30 p.m. Thursday under the review of Judge James Reynolds, who will take over for Judge Kathy Seeley.

Political analysts say the Green Party’s appearance on the ballot this November could peel off harder left leaning voters from the Democratic Party’s base, which could place further vulnerability on U.S. Senator Jon Tester’s bid for reelection.

A ruling on the case is not expected to impact the candidates appearance in the June 5 primary election. Mail ballots for the primary have already been sent out.

Corin Cates-Carney manages MTPR’s daily and long-term news projects. After spending more than five years living and reporting across Western and Central Montana, he became news director in early 2020.
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