Green Party seeks to move Dems’ challenge to federal court

HELENA (AP) — Green Party officials are asking a federal judge to preside over a legal challenge over whether the party qualifies for Montana’s elections.

State Democratic Party officials who are trying to remove the Green Party from the ballot are contesting attorney Quentin Rhoades’ attempt to move the Democrats’ lawsuit out of state court and into federal court.

The Democrats allege that 180 of the more than 7,000 voter signatures on the Green Party’s petition that qualified the party for the ballot are invalid, enough to disqualify the Green Party and their six candidates.

Rhoades says the case belongs in U.S. District Court because the legal challenge is a question of the Green Party’s rights under the U.S. Constitution.

Democratic Party attorney Mike Meloy says the issue is a matter of state law and should be heard in a Montana court.