Montana Republicans urge Supreme Court to allow closed primary News
Montana Republicans urge Supreme Court to allow closed primary

[JURIST] US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy [official profile] has ordered [text] Montana to respond to the Montana Republican Party’s [party website] application for injunctive relief [application, PDF] requesting the right to a closed primary in the state. Earlier this month, state Republicans filed the application following concerns [SCOTUSblog report] since 2014 that the MEA-MFT [official website], Montana’s largest union, encouraged state Democrats to cast GOP ballots in the upcoming June election to endorse the most favorable Republican candidate. Members of the Montana GOP recognize that the state of the primary may heavily determine the election’s outcome. Since the state refuses to require proof of party affiliation, the Republican party urged the Supreme Court to grant relief and allow them to exercise their freedom of association. Though the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] has scheduled a hearing for early May, the Republican party fears that such a late judgement could have a negative impact on the election. Should the party not be afforded accommodation, the Republican party could skip [Billings Gazette report] the June election and hold a state convention in early summer.

Voting rights have been a contentious issue in the US recently. Earlier this month an Ohio judge granted an emergency order [JURIST report] allowing 17-year-olds who will turn 18 by the November election to vote in the recent Ohio primary. Also this month the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit agreed to reconsider [JURIST report] Texas’ voter identification law before the entire court. Last May the New Hampshire Supreme Court struck down [JURIST report] a 2012 law requiring voters to be state residents, not just domiciled in the state. Last March Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed a new law [JURIST report] that made Oregon the first state in the nation to institute automatic voter registration. In November 2014 a federal appeals court rejected [JURIST report] a Kansas rule that required prospective voters to show proof-of-citizenship documents before registering using a federal voter registration form.