State Files Response in Signature-Gathering Lawsuit
HELENA – Attorneys with the office of Montana Attorney General Mike McGrath Tuesday filed a response to a lawsuit brought by organizations that allege signatures for three ballot measures were gathered fraudulently.
On August 17th, three political committees opposing ballot measures related to property rights (I-154), judicial recall (CI-98) and limits on state spending (CI-97) filed the suit and named Secretary of State Brad Johnson as one of the defendants. McGrath’s office is representing the secretary of state.
“The state takes no official position on the merits of the case,” McGrath said. “If indeed the plaintiffs can demonstrate that the signatures were fraudulently obtained, then clearly those names should be thrown out.
“However, it is up to the plaintiffs to prove those allegations,” McGrath said, “and up to the organizations and individuals proposing these measures to defend the signatures and the methods used to collect them.”
The case was filed in Cascade County before Judge Kenneth Neill. Neill set a hearing date of Sept. 8.