Home Uncategorized Lawsuit Filed to Remove Montana Top-Two Ballot Measure from 2014 Ballot

Lawsuit Filed to Remove Montana Top-Two Ballot Measure from 2014 Ballot

On December 19, a lawsuit was filed in the Montana Supreme Court to remove the ballot measures that would establish a top-two system in Montana, and repeal election-day voter registration. See this story. Thanks to Mike Fellows for the link.

The top-two measure is on the ballot because the Republican majority in the legislature placed it on the ballot. The sponsor of the bill for top-two is quoted as saying that he has a problem with elections in which the winner does not receive a majority of the vote. He seems not to have read about the California U.S. House election in 2012 in the 31st district. Two Republicans were the only candidates on the ballot in November, even though the district is strongly Democratic. So 23.1% of the voters who cast a ballot left U.S. House blank. Therefore, the winner, Congressman Gary Miller, did not get a majority of the people who cast a ballot.

9 Responses

  1. David

    SB 408 or LR 127 as it’s called was a bill that’s over 70 pages. http://leg.mt.gov/bills/2013/billhtml/SB0408.htm

    It seems even the sponsors couldn’t answer questions on the bill other then to say the primary will be a one ballot primary that includes other political party committeemen and women ballots and presidential primary ballots. SB 408 certainly wasn’t a single subject bill as it changed various parts of Montana’s title 13 election laws. This will be confusing to voters who won’t read the whole bill or understand this legislation. In the end it’s all about getting rid of the Libertarians in Montana, pure and simple.

    • Jim Riley

      Many of the changes are simple changes in terminology since those advancing to the general election are no longer “nominees”, but rather “candidates”. If a provision said that “nominee names” should appear in 12-point bold print, it would be changed to “candidate names” appear in 12-point bold print. That is not a substantive change, or a multiple subject.

      Other changes relate to the procedure for filling vacancies. If Montana simply ripped all that out, and simply held special elections to fill vacancies, they would be better off, but that would be a multiple subject.

      Similarly, it would be better to let political parties choose precinct committeemen and committeewomen at private conclaves. But they are stuck with the current procedure, since these can’t be Top 2.

      Washington state uses Top 2 AND elects party officers on a single ballot. While Washington has a more competent Secretary of State than Montana, it is not that hard to do.

  2. :-)

    Oh gosh, hopefully the cloak of fascism will not enshroud Montana now too!!!

  3. Jim Riley

    CA-31 is not strongly Democratic. It has a small Democratic plurality in registration. In the June 2012 primary a majority of voters voted for a Republican candidate, despite a tendency for more candidates to get more votes.

    The winner was an incumbent who ran in CA-31 to avoid facing another incumbent Republican. It is absurd to think that someone would run in a chance with no hope.

    • Gary Miller was not the incumbent in the classic sense. He was elected in 2010 from a district in Los Angeles County, which shares no territory whatsoever with the 31st district. He moved his home from Walnut, California (Los Angeles County) to Rancho Cucamonga (San Bernardino County), about 40 miles away.

      The 31st district is overwhelmingly Democratic. In November 2012 it gave Mitt Romney 40.6% of its vote, and it gave the Republican running for US Senate, Elizabeth Emken, 41.3% of its vote. The registration in that district in November 2012 was 125,881 Democrats and 106,820 Republicans.

      • Jim Riley

        22 miles from Walnut to Rancho Cucamonga. Did he actually live in his old district? An incumbent is not going to move to a district where he has no hope of winning.

        The registration margin is modestly Democratic, particularly considering that independents tend to be somewhat Republican-leaning – and more votes were cast for Republican candidates in the June primary than for Democratic candidates, despite there being more Democratic candidates.

        • Richard Winger

          According to the wikipedia article about Gary Miller, he did indeed move his home in early 2012 from Diamond Bar to Rancho Cucamonga. When he filed for office in 2006, he listed his address as 721 Brea Canyon Rd, Diamond Bar. When he filed to run in 2012, he listed his address as a PO Box in Rancho Cucamonga. According to Google maps, the distance between 721 Brea Canyon Rd in Diamond Bar, to the post office in Rancho Cucamonga, is 26 miles, so I should have said 26 miles, not 40 miles.

          • Jim Riley

            721 Brea Canyon does not appear to be residential, and even Diamond Bar is just on the edge of his former district.

            23 miles from the Diamond Bar address to the main post office in Rancho Cucamonga. His old district did include parts of San Bernardino County (Chino and Chino Hills).

            A representative need not live in his district, and the fact still remains that an incumbent is not likely to switch to a district that is unwinnable. So Gary Miller did not want to be paired with Ed Royce, and picked a nearby district that did not have a Republican incumbent, nor was overwhelmingly Democratic.

            And the fact remains that there were more votes cast for Republicans than for Democrats in the 2010 primary.

            Incidentally, Rancho Cucamonga has a Republican registration plurality.

  4. Demo Rep

    Will the gangster gang leaders require that at least 1 gangster be in the top 2 ??? — i.e. purge any non-conformists in the major gangs — to avoid the Divide and Conquer stuff in top 2 systems.

    ALL of the main gerrymander districts in CA (U.S. Reps, CA Senate and Assembly) were 100 percent packed/cracked (i.e. totally RIGGED) by the Donkey controlled CA gerrymander commission.

    General Elections in CA are an EVIL fraud/joke.

    NO primaries.
    P.R. and nonpartisan App.V.

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