Montana Legislature

Feb 20, 2013 11:50 AM by Marnee Banks - MTN News

Bigfork lawmaker wants to open up primary elections

hELENA - State Representative Scott Reichner (R-Bigfork) wants to open up Montana's primary elections so that voters don't have to choose a ballot for one party or another.

His proposal would allow a voter to cross party lines and vote for whoever they want to in the primary. The bill would then allow the top two vote getters to advance onto the general election.

"If you look at Montana, we are a purple state. We are not a red state or a blue state, we're not a two-party state. We are a purple state, which means we have a lot of independent minded, thinking citizens. What they want is to be able to vote in an open primary, both sides of the ticket," Reichner said.

Montana Secretary of State Linda McCulloch says the bill would deliver a tremendous blow to the value of fair and accessible elections for all candidates and all parties, and that if this were the law during the 2012 election, no third-party candidates would have advanced to the general election.

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