Petitioning for party ballot access is already underway in the state of Montana, and we need volunteers to help collect signatures. The state requires we collect 5,000 valid signatures before March 12th, 2020. This means we will actually need to collect up to 10,000 signatures.
You can find the link to download and print the petition below. We recommend contacting your state lead coordinator before getting started. Please remember when collecting that you must keep a different packet for each legislative district.
We must collect at least 150 signatures from at least 34 different legislative districts. Our goal is collecting at least 300 in each.
In 2018 the Green Party of Montana collected enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. The state required 5,000 valid signatures, and the Secretary of State verified 7,386 valid signatures had been collected. The Green Party was prepped and ready to be on the ballot with a good slate of candidates.
Then the Democrats intervened….
In Montana there is a quirky law that says a certain number of signatures must be collected from a total of thirty-four different legislative districts. If you met that requirement in thirty-three districts, but were short even just one signature in one district… you would be removed from the ballot.
The Democrats in Montana were able to use this quirk to target districts where the party struggled to collect signatures. They filed a suit against the Secretary of State claiming that some of the signatures needed further verification. They specifically targeted districts where the party barely met the required signatures. During this lawsuit Democrats were successfully able to get fifty signatures invalidated. Unfortunately, these signatures were in districts cutting it very close. The Green Party ended up just a handful of signatures short in a few districts, despite getting over 2,300 more signatures validated than the state requires.
In the end the party was removed from the ballot because of a handful of signatures. The party has tried fighting it in court, but the DNC called in it’s big money lawyers to squash the case. Litigation is still ongoing, but it’s likely the outcome will not acquire ballot access for the Green Party of Montana for 2020.
So now volunteers in Montana must do it all over again for 2020, despite just two years ago having collected significantly more signatures than required.