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Supreme Court rejects appeal of Montana open primary law - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Supreme Court rejects appeal of Montana open primary law

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The original suit came from the fallout of Ravalli County's heated commissioner races in the June 2014 primary. (MTN News photo) The original suit came from the fallout of Ravalli County's heated commissioner races in the June 2014 primary. (MTN News photo)

The U.S. Supreme Court won't take up the dispute over Montana's "open primary" system, opting not to hear a final appeal in the case which began in Ravalli County.

The original suit came from the fallout of Ravalli County's heated commissioner races in the June 2014 primary. Some Republicans in the Bitterroot were upset when former commissioners Suzy Foss and Ron Stoltz were turned out of office, believing cross over voting by Democrats contributed to their defeat. 

The state law was challenged arguing "cross over" voting violated First Amendment rights to free association. But critics argued selection of candidates was governed by state law and party rules, and voters should have a right to choose regardless of party affiliation. 

Bozeman attorney Matthew Monforten told MTN News on Monday he Supreme Court denied the petition to hear the case, also rejecting a similar suit from Hawaii.  That essentially ends the dispute through the courts, leaving the current "open primary" system in place. 

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