Judge Denies Motion
To Dismiss Lawsuit Against Montana
By Tim Ravndal
For many years, ballot access has been on the table here in Montana. The Constitution Party met fierce opposition when they went through the process to qualify for ballot access. Because they were considered a minor party the requirements to remain qualified continue to challenge the voters right to equal access.
The Veterans Party worked to generate access to the ballot but the restrictions were so burdensome it was determined that the process was economically and geographically beyond reason.
The Republican and Democratic Parties have maintained control over the political process without exception. We see the fight for control between the two parties ongoing at every level of government every day.
The division in America is present in every home across America. The discussion in the cafe, the store and across town is the division is due to the continual struggle for political control.
In 2018, the “Montana Green Party” used a paid process company to gather the required qualifying signatures. The party representatives brought the petition to the Montana Secretary of State for certification in time for the 2018 elections.
According to public records, Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton initially accepted the petition for ballot access.
As election day got closer action was filed in court by the Democratic Party to disqualify the petition.
The legal challenge was based on the allegation that the petition failed to follow proper filing requirements under Montana law.
The Montana Republican Party also joined in to challenge the Green Party ballot access.
Montana District Court Judge James Reynolds ruled against the Green Party claiming the over 5000 signatures were not properly gathered by district disbursement. The Green Party legal team appealed the decision based on Constitutional provisions regarding elections.
Because the case was decided close to Election Day, the Green Party legal representatives did not have time to conclude the judicial process to enable access to the ballot for the 2018 election. The case is now before the United States District Court.
U.S. Magistrate Judge John Johnston received a motion from Secretary of state to dismiss the case. Judge Johnston recently ruled against Mr. Stapleton’s motion.
The Green Party legal challenge has garnered support from Montana Libertarian Party, Montana Constitution Party, Montana Veterans Party and many Independent Party voters in establishing fair ballot access. The court will hear arguments later this year insisting that Montana’s qualification requirements for minor political parties are unconstitutionally restrictive.
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