SOS Stapleton requests U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in Green Party battle

Posted at 10:37 AM, Aug 20, 2020

HELENA — Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton, a Republican, is asking the United State Supreme Court (SCOTUS) to intervene in whether or not the Green Party should be allowed on Montana’s Nov. 3 general election ballot.

The request follows the Montana Supreme Court and a federal judge rejecting appeals to keep the Green Party on the ballot.

In his appeal Stapleton states: " It’s become crystal clear that in order for me to enforce important election deadlines and for Montana’s constitution to be respected, we’re going to need a senior court to intervene and break the stranglehold the Montana Democratic Party has on Montana’s legal system."

The Montana Democratic Party says Stapleton's efforts are partisan politics.

"Yesterday the Montana Supreme Court affirmed that the Secretary of State's office violated Montana law as it rushed to certify the Montana GOP's massive fraudulent effort to mislead Montana voters and tamper with our elections. If Secretary Stapleton wants to expose his embarrassingly partisan, illegal behavior to judgment from the highest court in the land, he has every right to do so," said Montana Democratic party Executive Director Sandi Luckey. "Montana Democrats will continue to defend the integrity of our elections."

The request follows the Montana Supreme Court and a federal judge rejecting appeals to keep the Green Party on the ballot.

If the U.S. Supreme Court was to take up the case, it is not clear at this time what a ruling from them would have on the ballots given that Montana ballots for the general election need to be certified on Thursday.

The Green Party qualified for the ballot in March, by petition.

It was revealed later that the Montana Republican Party had financed the effort, spending $100,000 on a company to organize the petition drive.

The Democratic Party organized an effort to persuade those who signed the petition to formally withdraw their signatures, saying they’d been deceived.

Stapleton was sued by the Democrats, saying he had improperly denied their withdrawal requests.

On Thursday, the Secretary of State's Office also sought a stay of the Montana Supreme Court's order due to their appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Montana Supreme Court denied the motion.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional information that developed after it was published.