HELENA – Another effort to restore Montana Green Party candidates to the general election ballot has been denied, officials said Monday.
Associate U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan denied an emergency request from two candidates and two Green Party voters to restore the candidates to the ballot while an appeal is heard by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Montana Supreme Court upheld an Aug. 7 lower court decision allowing about 560 people to remove their names from petitions that qualified the Green Party for the ballot, leaving them without enough signatures.
Kagan earlier denied a request by Montana’s Republican Secretary of State Corey Stapleton for an emergency injunction to block the state Supreme Court ruling.
Many of the signers who asked to remove their names from the petitions did so after learning the Montana Republican Party had bankrolled the $100,000 signature gathering effort, which violated campaign finance laws.
Third-party candidates can draw support from major party candidates. Green Party candidates sometimes draw votes away from Democrats while Libertarian candidates sometimes siphon votes from Republicans.
Green Party candidates Gary Marbut and Royal Davis were allowed to intervene in the 9th Circuit appeal of the Montana Supreme Court decision and last Friday sought their emergency restoration to the ballot.
Marbut, who was running for a state Senate seat, has said that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ briefing schedule “is so untimely as to telegraph the intent of the panel to ultimately deny any relief,” and he didn’t believe he would be on the ballot for the November election.
Election administrators are required to start sending printed ballots to absent military and overseas voters by Friday.
The Aug. 7 state court decision marked the second time in two years that Montana Green Party candidates were stripped from the ballot.
It was never determined who was behind the 2018 effort to get Green Party candidates on the Montana ballot, but the Montana Green Party said they were not involved.