Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Judge Rejects Proposal For Electronic Signature Gathering

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana judge on Thursday denied a request by a group seeking to gather signatures electronically to qualify two recreational marijuana issues for the November ballot amid coronavirus restrictions.

New Approach Montana failed to show that Gov. Steve Bullock's emergency orders related to the coronavirus “specifically suspend ballot initiative petition gathering at this time," District Judge John Larson said in his ruling.

New Approach Montana had petitioned the court to allow it to gather signatures electronically for a proposal to make the use of recreational marijuana legal and taxable. They also want to seek enough signatures for a constitutional amendment that would allow the state to set a legal age for the use of recreational marijuana.

Larson said they can petition the governor's office for relief, pursue legislative change in 2021 or otherwise satisfy “the governor's present directives while seeking the signatures plaintiffs require in the remaining time allowed.”

Larson rejected a request to extend the signature gathering deadline from July 17 to Aug. 3, after the state argued that such a delay could lead to delays in certifying ballots.

“The state's compelling interest in maintaining the integrity and security of its election process outweighs any burden on plaintiffs' constitutional rights,” Larson wrote.

© 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.
Become a sustaining member for as low as $5/month
Make an annual or one-time donation to support MTPR
Pay an existing pledge or update your payment information
Related Content