Citizens Opposing Political Corruption
    in Montana's Elections

People's Power League 
Fighting Corporate Control of Montana Government
Since June 11, 1911


Taunting Montana Voters Can Be Dangerous
to the Success of Montana's Political Parties

For 102 years, Montana voters have nominated candidates in an open primary starting with U.S. senator and representatives, governor and other state officials, continuing down the ballot to local officials. The record on the open presidential preference primary has been a tug-of-war with voters winning until now. There lies the story.

Timeline of Battles Won and Victories Delayed

  • 1919: Democrats in the legislature tried three times to end the Open Primary. Prior to this legislative session, Montana had elected Democratic governors for 24 years, but voters now retaliated and put a Republican into the  governor's office.

  • 1924: The Democratic Legislature humbly put a referendum on the ballot to end the Open Presidential Preference Primary.  Voters, by a narrow margin, repealed this primary.  They also made peace with the party and put Democrats into the governor's office for the next 16 years.

  • 1954: Republicans went to the voters to restore the Open Presidential Preference Primary and was rewarded with the Governor’s office for the next 20 years. Montana might still be governed by a Republican governor but the party experimented with statewide crossover voting. In 1965, the public learned of the abuse of the Open Primary. The Republican blunder put Democrats back into the governor’s office for 20 years.

  • 1985: Once more Democrats tried to close the Open Presidential Preference Primary based on a U.S. Supreme Court ruling about Freedom to Associate. The Republicans blocked four bills that would have closed the primary. Voters rewarded Republicans with control of the governor’s office for the next 20 years.

  • 2016: Will the Republican Party pay a steep political cost for closing the Open Primary? Will they lock themselves out of the governor’s office into the foreseeable future? Or, will they find that closing the primary is not really their cup of tea? Well time will tell. Freedom of Association allows Republicans to reject being exclusive and continue being inclusive. They can invite all voters to their party.

So Where's the Proof?      Click Here

In order to find this view of history believable, you'll want names and references. The report includes many citations so you can read even more.  You'll also want to check the facts to see if you come to the same conclusions.  I'll try to keep the story crisp and interesting with direct quotes.  The focus is the open primary which leaves out many important considerations.  Even so, it's a long story -- interwoven with 102 years of political history in Montana.

Each year of the timeline has a link directly to material that may catch your interest more than others.  But, the best thing is the conclusion.  History may be cycling again and Matthew Monforton may be about to realize what a mistake the Conservative Republicans are making.

"No stream can rise higher than its source and the law proceeds from the people, consequently there is no such thing as law that stands independent of popular opinion, and for the legislatures and courts to...divorce the law from reason,...would be fatal to the law and destructive to the country." 
Billings Daily Gazette (April  1910)

 To Learn More

  The Results Are In

Let's compare the results in the primary election for Senate District 43, Ravalli County, to the results in the general election. Seven percent of the voters who selected a Republican ballot in the primary may have voted for the Democrat in the general election. Or, there is another, equally valid, interpretation. The Ravalli County Democrats may have done a better job in getting an additional seven percent of their voters to the polls.

  Primary Election SD 43

  Democrat    Republican

       22%            78%

  General Election SD 43

  Democrat    Republican

       29%            71%