- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 8, 2020

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - A federal appeals court has denied a request for an emergency injunction to allow Montana Green Party candidates to appear on the November ballot, a decision that one of the plaintiffs says puts an end to the issue.

“It looks as if the fat lady has finally sung and I will not be on the (Senate District) 47 ballot in November as a Green Party candidate,” Gary Marbut wrote in an email to the Missoulian.

Marbut and attorney general candidate Royal Davis sought the injunction after the state Supreme Court on Aug. 19 upheld a lower court ruling that granted the requests of about 560 people to remove their names from petitions that qualified the the Green Party for the ballot.

Several weeks after the Green Party was declared to have qualified for the primary ballot it was learned the state Republican Party bankrolled the $100,000 signature gathering effort, violating campaign finance laws in the process. The Green Party has said they were not behind the effort.

Third-party candidates can draw support from major party candidates. Green Party candidates can draw votes away from Democrats while Libertarian candidates can siphon votes from Republicans.

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a motion by Secretary of State Corey Stapleton to block the Montana Supreme Court ruling.

While the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request for immediate action Tuesday, it granted a motion by Marbut and Davis to intervene in the case and set a schedule for filing responses.

However, Marbut wrote: “The schedule is so untimely as to telegraph the intent of the panel to ultimately deny any relief. So it’s over.”

Election administrators are required to start sending printed ballots to absent military and overseas voters by Sept. 18.

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