A federal judge sided with three would-be candidates who argued they didn’t have enough time to gather the signatures required to qualify for Montana’s special congressional election — but their names still aren’t going on the ballot. U.S. District Judge Brian Morris on Saturday ordered Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton to reduce the number of voter signatures needed to place minor party and independent candidates on the ballot from 14,268 to 400. But the judge did not extend Stapleton’s March 6 deadline to turn in signatures, which means the three men who sued for ballot access — Thomas Breck of the Green Party and independents Steve Kelly and Doug Campbell — still don’t qualify for the ballot.
“None of the candidates met the judge’s lowered signature threshold,” Stapleton spokeswoman Morgan Williams said Sunday.
Barring an appeals court’s intervention, Morris’ ruling means Democrat Rob Quist, Republican Greg Gianforte and Libertarian Mark Wicks will remain the only candidates in the May 25 election to replace former U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke, who resigned March 1 to become interior secretary.
The lawsuit had threatened to force election ballots to be reprinted, which would have cost about $100,000 and would have caused the state to miss Monday’s deadline to mail ballots to military and overseas voters.
Full Article: Would-be candidates win court case, still won’t be on ballot.