MT Republican Party to Decide Whether or Not to Support Closed Primaries
In September, the Ravalli County Republican Central Committee filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in hopes of changing the party's primary system from open to closed.Four other county central committees have since joined in the lawsuit (namely Gallatin, Stillwater, Sanders and Dawson), but the state Republican party has yet to weigh in.
Now that the elections are over, Montana Republican Party Chairman Will Deschamps has set a date for the party leadership to make a decision on the matter.
"The state party has not spoken out, much in difference than what people have said," Deschamps said. "The party hasn't said one thing, one way or the other. I have called for a state central committee meeting on January 10, in Helena, where the grassroots people who really control the party will make the decision one way or the other on whether the state party gets involved in the lawsuit or not."
If the lawsuit is successful and the party chooses to implement the closed primary system, those that wish to vote on a republican primary ballot will need to register as republicans. Those that advocate for such a move argue that the current system allows crossover voting that damages the parties ability to select its own representatives.
There is a good chance that Ravalli republicans get permission to switch to a closed primary system, a similar decision was reached in Idaho, which held its first closed primary races in 2012.