Wednesday, April 4, 2018

MT Green Party Signatures Challenged for Candidates Ballot Access

The Montana Democratic Party is claiming the Montana Green Party didn’t have enough Signatures to Qualify for Running Candidates in this Fall’s Election and wants the Green Party’s Candidates removed from the Ballot.

In a Complaint filed Monday in Helena District Court, the Montana Democratic Party argues the Montana Green Party submitted Invalid Signatures that were used to Certify the Party for Ballot Access.

The Complaint was also filed by James Larson, former Chairman of the Party; Donald Judge, former Executive Secretary of the Montana AFL-CIO; and Jean Price, a former State Legislator. The complaint is against the State of Montana, through Secretary of State Corey Stapleton, and the Montana Green Party.

To qualify for the Ballot, the Montana Green Party needed to gather 5,000 Signatures from at least 34 of the State House Districts. Though Stapleton Certified 7,386 Signatures from Four Counties.

The Complaint argues:

- The Green Party gathered enough Signatures from only 30 of the State House Districts, not the 34 Required.

- At least 180 Signatures aren't Valid. Reasons listed include at least 35 Petition entities that don't contain a Valid Signature, 171 not Signed in a manner that matches the Signature On-File for the Voter, Seven with an Incorrect or Invalid Dates, Five without a Printed Name, and at least Six matched in Error to a Montana Voter.

- An Out-of-State Political Consulting Firm was involved in gathering Signatures but that Activity was not Reported to the Commissioner as Required by State Campaign Finance Laws. That Complaint claims at least Two Out-of-State Residents with ties to the Firm, Advanced Micro Targeting, helped gather Signatures.

- Some of the Signature Gatherers’ efforts seem Unrealistic. Gatherers averaged 500 Signatures a day, and One reported collecting in a single day more than 90 signatures from Cascade County and more than 50 from Yellowstone County, “despite the more than four-hour driving distance between the two counties,”.

- At least one Green Party Candidate, Tim Adams, who is Running for the U.S. Senate Seat, has “long-standing affiliations” with the Montana Republican Party. Adams has been on the Montana GOP’s Payroll in the past. Candidates like Adams are “seeking the Green Party’s nomination to act as ‘spoiler’ candidates rather than to advance the Green Party’s stated principles and values,” the Complaint claims.

The Democrats did not announce the Filing until after 6 p.m. Monday.

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