2019 Montana Legislature
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HOUSE BILL NO. 647
INTRODUCED BY D. HAYMAN
A BILL FOR AN ACT ENTITLED: "AN ACT GENERALLY REVISING LAWS RELATED TO QUALIFYING A POLITICAL PARTY FOR PRIMARY ELECTIONS; ELIMINATING CERTAIN ALTERNATIVE SIGNATURE THRESHOLDS FOR MINOR PARTY PETITIONS; PROVIDING SIGNATURE REQUIREMENTS; PROVIDING PENALTIES; AND AMENDING SECTIONS 13-10-601, 13-27-102, 13-27-106, AND 13-27-210, MCA."
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
Section 1. Section 13-10-601, MCA, is amended to read:
"13-10-601. Parties eligible for primary election -- petitions by minor parties -- penalties. (1) Each political party that had a candidate for a statewide office in either of the last two general elections who received a total vote that was 5% or more of the total votes cast for the most recent successful candidate for governor shall nominate its candidates for public office, except for presidential electors, by a primary election as provided in this chapter.
(2) (a) A political party that does not qualify to hold a primary election under subsection (1) may qualify to nominate its candidates by primary election by presenting a petition, in a form prescribed by the secretary of state, requesting the primary election.
(b) The petition must be signed by a number of registered voters equal to 5% or more of the total votes cast for the successful candidate for governor at the last general election or 5,000 electors, whichever is less. The number must include the registered voters in more than one-third of the legislative districts equal to 5% or more of the total votes cast for the successful candidate for governor at the last general election in those districts or 150 electors in those districts, whichever is less.
(c) Signatures must be gathered in accordance with 13-27-102.
(c)(d) At least 1 week before the deadline provided in subsection (2)(d) (2)(e), the petition and the affidavits of circulation required by 13-27-302 must be presented to the election administrator of the county in which the signatures were gathered to be verified under the procedures provided in 13-27-303 through 13-27-306. A signature may be counted only as provided by 13-27-103.
(d)(e) The election administrator shall forward the verified petition to the secretary of state at least 85 days before the date of the primary.
(f) A person making a false entry on a petition or affidavit or signing the same petition twice is subject to the provisions of 13-27-106. A person interfering with the collection of signatures for a petition is subject to the provisions of 13-27-210."
Section 2. Section 13-27-102, MCA, is amended to read:
"13-27-102. Who may petition and gather signatures. (1) A petition for the following matters initiative, the referendum, or to call a constitutional convention may be signed only by a qualified elector of the state of Montana:
(a) an initiative;
(b) a referendum;
(c) to call a constitutional convention; and
(d) to qualify a political party's candidates for a primary election pursuant to 13-10-601(2).
(2) A person gathering signatures for the initiative, the referendum, or to call a constitutional convention the matters described in subsection (1):
(a) must be a resident, as provided in 1-1-215, of the state of Montana; and
(b) may not be paid anything of value based upon the number of signatures gathered."
Section 3. Section 13-27-106, MCA, is amended to read:
"13-27-106. Violations -- penalties. A person who knowingly does any of the following makes a false entry upon a petition or affidavit required by this chapter or who knowingly signs a petition to place the same issue on the ballot at the same election more than once is guilty of unsworn falsification or tampering with public records or information, as appropriate, and is punishable as provided in 45-7-203 or 45-7-208, as applicable:
(1) makes a false entry upon a petition or affidavit required by this chapter;
(2) makes a false entry upon a petition or affidavit required by 13-10-601(2);
(3) signs a petition to place the same issue on the ballot at the same election more than once; or
(4) signs a petition described by 13-10-601(2) to qualify the same political party's candidates for the same primary election more than once."
Section 4. Section 13-27-210, MCA, is amended to read:
"13-27-210. Physical prevention of obtaining signatures or physical intimidation of signature gatherers prohibited. A person may not knowingly or purposefully physically prevent an individual from obtaining signatures or attempting to obtain signatures on a petition for a ballot issue or on a petition described in 13-10-601(2) or physically intimidate another individual when that individual is obtaining or attempting to obtain signatures on a petition for a ballot issue or on a petition described in 13-10-601(2). A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500, by imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or by both a fine and imprisonment."
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Latest Version of HB 647 (HB0647.01)
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