Ravalli County Republicans sued the state Monday in an attempt to require voters to register with the GOP in order to participate in the party’s primary elections. The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court seeks to close Montana’s open primaries to prevent crossover voting by Democrats and independents. It asks a federal judge to strike down as unconstitutional Montana laws allowing any registered voter to participate in any party primary. Attorney Matthew Monforton of Bozeman filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Ravalli County Republican Central Committee. Monforton is a state House candidate who successfully pushed the state Republican Party this spring to add support of a closed-primary system to its platform. “What we’re seeking are the kinds of primaries that most other states have in which Republicans select their own nominees,” he said.
Twenty-four states have closed Republican primaries, and 19 states have closed Democratic primaries, according to the nonpartisan Maryland-based group FairVote. In 2011, a federal judge ruled that Idaho’s open-primary system was unconstitutional, prompting that state’s Legislature to pass a law closing its primary elections.
Monforton said the Idaho lawsuit took nearly three years to litigate, and he filed his lawsuit with the 2016 elections in mind. He expects other county political committees to join it, he said.
Full Article: GOP committee sues to close Montana primaries : Politics.