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Montana GOP: You Have to Join a Party to Vote

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The Great Falls Tribune reported Friday that Montana Republicans filed an appeal with the Supreme Court of the United States to close the June 7 primary to registered party members only. IVN News has long followed efforts by the Republican and Democratic parties to close their primaries and predicted this would happen in early 2015.

The Montana GOP’s State Central Committee joined the lawsuit challenging Montana’s open primary system in January 2015. Under the current system, voters are able to choose which party ballot they want to vote on when they participate in primary elections and are not required to declare party affiliation when they register to vote.

The plaintiffs argue that the Republican Party’s constitutional right of association is being violated because non-Republican voters “cross over” and try to influence the outcome in legislative districts. However, U.S. District Judge Brian Morris ruled in December that there were too many unproven claims by the plaintiffs to issue an injunction that would close the June primaries.

The justices on the Supreme Court, with one seat vacant, will now decide whether or not they will take up the petition. On the flip side of the legal battle, the Independent Voter Project filed a petition before the high court in July 2015 to hear a case challenging closed primary elections in New Jersey. The high court, however, has yet to agree to take up the case.

Plaintiffs in the New Jersey case argue that not only do closed primaries violate the individual voter’s right to non-association, but their right to equal consideration and protection under the Fourteenth Amendment by denying all voters an equal say in elections.

 

Get More Info on the NJ Lawsuit

 

Montana is not an isolated case, nor is it solely the Republican Party attempting to close primary elections. In Hawaii, for instance, the Democratic Party attempted and failed to have the state’s open primary system struck down on the grounds that it violated the party’s associational right guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.

How Political Parties Rig ElectionsIs our election process rigged?WATCH: What the two parties don't want you to know... Posted by Independent Voter on Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Lawyers for the Republican and Democratic parties — and even third parties — have tried to close primary elections across the country, including in Washington state, Virginia, South Carolina, California, and Idaho. So far, of these cases, only the Republican Party of Idaho has succeeded in completely overturning the state’s open primary laws.

The rise in these lawsuits comes at a time when the political landscape in the nation continues to shift — a shift that is not going in either party’s favor. The number of voters who self-identify as independent of the Republican and Democratic parties is at an all-time high and independent voter registration continues to climb.

At stake in these cases is not simply the fundamental voting rights of independent voters, but ALL voters. If taxpayer-funded primaries are an integral stage of the election process — which the Supreme Court has previously ruled they are — should all voters then be allowed equal access to the voting franchise? Whom do elections ultimately serve, people or private political parties?

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65 comments
1TruantMuse
1TruantMuse

The big parties are desperate to control everyone and everything.  Ballot blocking, over-regulation of primaries, debate restrictions... we're far from free. #GaryJohnson2016

TannimAlt
TannimAlt

The Tashjian ruling correctly states you will lose your case.

Why are you trying to damage the First Amendment?

phasegen
phasegen

If public funding, public equipment, or public property is used in a primary, it should be open to any registered voter regardless of party affiliation. Parties need to be picked out of the public hide like the disease carrying, blood sucking ticks they are.

Constance West
Constance West

In Many states if your are an independent you can't vote in a presidential primary unless you are a republican or a democrat isn't that outrageous

Les Carpenter
Les Carpenter

Either everyone should be allowed to vote or the political parties should foot the bill

Sarah Enright
Sarah Enright

Primary ballots should be as election ballots,every candidate on ONE ballot.

Don Miller
Don Miller

Good question, let us talk about it!!!

Wayne Thompson
Wayne Thompson

Yes. That's why it's not a full democrat any more.

Linda Sheehe
Linda Sheehe

Absolutely. Don't think we should continue to declare a party affiliation to vote in primary elections. The two party only system should go.

Jerry Ford
Jerry Ford

All voters of legal age as long as they are legally in the usa should be allowed to vote!

Judy Lou
Judy Lou

PLEASE if you WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE change yuor party to Democrat for this primary... So you CAN VOTE for Bernie... otherwise it's a vote for Hillary or Trump. I'll change back to Independent immediately after the Primary.

Judy Lou
Judy Lou

Oregon is also a closed Primary... Please register as Democrat so you can vote for Bernie in the primary... otherwise yours is a vote for Hillary or Trump.

Chip Saunders
Chip Saunders

Virginia GOP tried to make primary voters sign statements that they were members of the republican party. Got shot down by the board of elections before the primaries this year. I expect a rehashed attempt to come around before the next cycle.

Brenda Duffey
Brenda Duffey

It's the same Supreme Court that ruled "slaves were chattel" and separate but equal justified segregation. The public is controlled by the corporate lobbyists and two major political parties. They create what the public wants and the Supreme Court just goes along. Get rid of the Electoral College first.

Brenda Duffey
Brenda Duffey

Yes, but nobody wants to take this on. The candidates are too controlled by the same ole same ole and call themselves "progressives."

Sharon Cooper
Sharon Cooper

I think u should declare a party to vote n primaries

Dave Sebesta
Dave Sebesta

This is not right. Where is the FREEDOM in that?

Robin Feusner
Robin Feusner

Any one should be able to vote without party affiliation the party and its favoritism and the money trading will be the end of our Government. it is corrupt on both sides.

Thomas Young
Thomas Young

Read the Constitution, your answer is there, NO requirement to a party, its more establishment BS, their rules or they take their ball and go home, both parties. Knowing your Bill of Rights scares all politicians.

Kathleen Brooks
Kathleen Brooks

They should just have open primaries. Any other way is suppressing the votes.

TannimAlt
TannimAlt

Open primaries are unconstitutional.

Ed Corwin
Ed Corwin

But of course. Kind of just makes sense. Not by the republicans or of the democrats. The people, remember us?

Hardy Campbell
Hardy Campbell

What I call "democratic" tyranny. What a country!

Bill Frenger
Bill Frenger

This STINKING "White American $Capitalist$" Two Party Monopoly is Veiled Oligarchy and has GOT TO GO. But first We gotta do some serious A** Kicking in the Supreme Court and clear out the Prisons to make room for the REAL $Criminals$!!

Debra Spangler Sudtelgte
Debra Spangler Sudtelgte

Colorado does the same thing. I have to list a party affiliation to have the right to vote in a primary. That stinks!

Rufina Marie Laws
Rufina Marie Laws

It should be available to Anyone that is a citizen of the country.

Terrence Wolf
Terrence Wolf

If they take taxpayer money, then they should take taxpayer votes. All primaries should be open to all taxpayers.

Robert Zmuda
Robert Zmuda

Our country has been for at least the last 40 years and is now suffering from what crony under regulated capitalism and the corporate personhood of multi national corporations has done to it brought about by the play book called the Powell Memo . This is what conservative corporate capitalism does to a democratic nation and the world. We are in the economic and social situation we are in because this is where capitalism drove us... That's what capitalism does to democratic republics it makes a few capitalists very wealthy who then buy up our representation to become WEALTHIER UNTIL THEY OWN OR HAVE DESTROYED EVERYTHING. Capitalism eats up everything for profit. There is no loyalty to nation or fellow country man in capitalism or the capitalist creation of " crony capitalism ". Capitalism is a economic engine that places capital in the hands of a few Capitalist who then in turn decide how best to use that capital to create more capital for the few who have the extra resources to invest. The end game of capitalism is the same end game of the board game Monopoly and as I recall only one player wins the game in its end , no ? Another creation of capital is called Corporate Personhood it gives the corporation super human rights, remember Mitt Romney comment " Corporations are people too my friend. " Well with no soul or moral objective maybe the corporate person is not such a good friend or neighbor . Ask Trumps Victims. The DNC and the Clintons Bill and Hillary have been and always will be self serving corporatist . Look at Bills presidency what bills did he sign into law that helped the middle class and poor? Save our nation vote for and help elect Bernie Sanders for President in 2016 and shock the establishment entitled elites. We voters , We the People have become complacent and comfortable for to long and let the Corporate " Person " who owns the media tell us what they want us to hear and see . We don't realize that most thing we use and enjoy were created by a democratic socialistic country or maybe public education, public libraries, public post office, public parks ( local , state and national ), public transportation, public 4th of July celebrations ,police, fire, military, Courts, jails, roads, bridges, highways, airports, harbors , water towers, water treatment plants et.et.et. We have allowed them to buy our government , local state and federal . It's Our Job WE THE PEOPLE to fix this before its to late. Vote for and help elect Bernie Sanders for President in 2016 and shock the entitled establishment elites. Let them hear the shot across the bow!

Hugh Giordano
Hugh Giordano

I totally agree with open primaries! We also need fair and open debates to all political parties who get on enough state ballots to theoretically win! In 2012, The Libertarian party and Green party did this, yet were blocked! www.fairdebates.com

Floyd Gregorich
Floyd Gregorich

This wrong just as the electoral college is wrong with today's technology.

Electoral Reform for a More Favorable Congress
Electoral Reform for a More Favorable Congress

Party primaries, to be validly official and democratic, should be nonpartisan but until the change to nonpartisan primaries comes about what’s to prevent an existing or new democratic party from supplanting the duopoly parties. Imagine an anti-party that seeks to reduce political parties’ power by setting an example or their irrelevance through its own democratic rules, such as conducting elections through an approval plus grade voting method. Voters would not be required to register in order to vote in its primaries. Such a party could welcome all candidates who qualify for candidacies through requisite signatures on petitions whether or not the candidates subscribe to any or all of platform objectives. Its main objective would be to become obsolete as a party that conducts primaries. Here’s a list of law and constitutional amendment goals that might be most appropriate as the anti-party party’s complete platform: 1. Nonpartisan (not bi-partisan) congressional redistricting commissions nationwide. 2. At-large congressional districts in smaller States and five-seat or a combination of five-seat and at-large districts in States with six or more Representatives. 3. Electing, in a nonpartisan process, the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate by the general electorate in presidential election years and revamping, through a nonpartisan process, legislative committees. 4. Initiative and Referendum measures on general election ballots. 5. Banning of official party primaries and providing uniform access for candidates’ names on ballots in nonpartisan primaries and general elections. 6. Replacement of first-past-the-post voting method with a uniform information-rich expressive voting method such as approval plus grade. 7. Presidential authority to “veto” line item appropriations in bills and Congressional authority to override the line-item veto with a simple rather than 2/3 majority. 8. Presidential authority, in the last half of his/her second term, to proposed amendment(s) to the Constitution which if not ratified by a 3/4 majority in Congress, could be ratified by a 60 percent majority in the next general election and a 70 percent majority in the following second next general election.

James D. Frazier
James D. Frazier

Yes, Absolutely! Every "voter" should have the "right" to partake in the process that selects the candidates that they will have to choose from in the actual election.

Robert Gaines
Robert Gaines

I am an independent and can't vote in any Louisiana primary.not wright talk about violating my wrights .!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mark Dresselhaus
Mark Dresselhaus

All voters have equal access to the voting franchise. It's only in the primaries that you need to choose a party. If you make the decision not to register in a party then it is you who are giving up your franchise--nobody is taking it away from you.

Donna Brown
Donna Brown

Election for primary needs to be open in all states. Where everyone can vote on all candidates running irrespective of party. Then maybe we could break up the strangle hold the "Two Party" system has on our political system. I would also open up voting to all people living, and working here.

Beth Bennington
Beth Bennington

If funded by the taxpayers, then all taxpayers should play.

Lyle Collins
Lyle Collins

IM NOT ANY PARTY ,I SUPPOSE THEY CALL YOU WHO EVER YOU VOTED FOR LAST TIME !!

Mike Millman
Mike Millman

How much tax payer dollars can other parties take, if any?

Don Clark
Don Clark

These are some of the same people who made Corporations. .. a person. :-/

Edo Mihic
Edo Mihic

NO MATTER WHAT THEY SAY OR DO , OUR VOTE GOES TO TRUMP ,A MAN THEY CAN'T MANIPULATE, MR. DONALD TRUMP. HE DOESN'T OWE ANYONE ANYTHING ,TRUMP THE NEXT PRESIDENT, THE MAN THAT SPEAKS THE TRUTH THEY ARE DESPERATE AND WILL SAY OR DO ANYTHING TO GET TRUMP OUT, IT'S NO HAPPENING VOTE FOR AMERICA VOTE FOR TRUMP

Edwin Roberts
Edwin Roberts

so I would be entitled to a refund... I am UNaffliated

Edwin Roberts
Edwin Roberts

this is why we need a third party... one that will be for the people