HELENA (AP) — A judge has limited the number of voter signatures that Montana officials can require for independent and third-party candidates to qualify as candidates in special elections.

U.S. District Judge Brian Morris’ ruling on Monday ends a lawsuit filed by three men who wanted to run in the May 25 special election for Montana’s U.S. House seat.

The Secretary of State’s office refused to place their names on the ballot because they hadn’t collected signatures from 5 percent of the total number of voters in the last election — 14,268 people.

The men sued, saying the requirement was so high that it violated their constitutional rights.

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Morris’ order says that for future special elections, state officials can’t require more voter signatures than 80 times the total number of days the candidates have to collect them.