09 October 2008

Judge blasts GOP voter registration challenges

Jennifer McKee - Missoulian State Bureau

HELENA - U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy issued a scathing order Wednesday lambasting the Montana Republican Party for challenging the registrations of thousands of Montana voters, but stopped short of an actual ruling in the case.

In his 19-page order, Molloy denied a temporary restraining order to the Montana Democratic Party, which sought to stop thousands of GOP-led voter challenges from moving forward. Molloy wrote that Secretary of State Brad Johnson “astutely” asked counties not to process the Republicans' voter challenges, which effectively alleviated a crisis that would have required a restraining order.

Johnson is a Republican.

Molloy did not rule on the Democrats' other arguments that the GOP effort violated federal election law, but scheduled a hearing on that matter next week.

However, the judge left little doubt about his thoughts on the voter challenges.

“The timing of these challenges is so transparent that it defies common sense to believe the purpose is anything but political chicanery,” Molloy wrote.


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