Campaign Watch: This week in the race to November

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 20, 2014 at 6:46 pm •  Published: June 20, 2014
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HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Here is a look at the week's most interesting and important developments in Montana's election campaigns.

BALLOT INTIATIVE DEADLINE PASSES:

Citizen ballot initiatives faced a Friday deadline to qualify for the Nov. 4 election, but nearly all of the sponsors reported they had failed to collect enough signatures. The one sponsor who had not responded to Associated Press queries by the deadline was Billings businessman Steve Zabawa, who is seeking to ban the use and possession of marijuana and other Schedule I drugs in Montana. The state now allows the use of pot for medicinal purposes.

Sponsors of measures to expand Medicaid, ban most trapping on public lands, end gubernatorial appointments to U.S. Senate vacancies and other measures said the clock ran out on their signature-gathering efforts. Another proposal to roll back a tax increase for Charter Communications was dropped after the company reached a settlement agreement with the state over its property taxes.

Two legislative referendums will appear on the ballot. One proposes to end late voter registration on Election Day, while the other would change the name of the state auditor to the commissioner of securities and insurance.

REPUBLICANS TO WRAP UP CONVENTION IN BILLINGS:

Montana Republicans will wrap up their annual convention Saturday in Billings by voting on whether to change or add any issues to the party's platform. One of the most contentious items up for a vote is whether to close voting in future primary elections to registered Republicans only. The proposal, which received initial approval on Thursday, arose after complaints that Democrats were voting for certain GOP candidates in elections held earlier this month.

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