Faced With a Lawsuit by State Dems, the Republicans Wave White Flag of Surrender...
By Brad Friedman on 10/8/2008, 10:00am PT  

Last Friday, we told you about the bogus challenges --- 6,000 of them --- made by the Montana GOP against voters in six Democratic-leaning counties in the state, based solely on the fact that the voters had filed change of address forms with the U.S. Postal Service within the last 18 months. The GOP claimed, with a straight face, they were fighting "voter fraud", even though there was indications of no such fraud, and the result was little more than chaos at the election offices, just 30 days out from a major election.

One of the GOP's challenged voters turned out to be an Army Reservist who would be unable to verify his authenticity --- and thus would lose his right to vote under the challenge --- since he was in New Jersey, about to ship out for his second tour of duty in Iraq.

Well, we've got some good news on this story, for a welcome change...

On Monday, the state Democratic Party fought back, and announced a lawsuit against the Republicans, to stop the challenges on the basis that they were brought by the GOP only to intimidate voters and suppress turnout:

The suit alleges that [Republican Sec. of State Brad] Johnson’s office didn’t follow federal law in handling the challenges. As a result, voters in Hill County, for instance, are being treated differently than voters in other counties, which is illegal, the suit alleges. State Republicans also targeted voters who tend to vote Democratic, which is also illegal, the suit says.

AP's coverage of Monday's suit notes that "Attorneys from the Obama campaign assisted the Montana Democratic Party in crafting the lawsuit" (we're happy to see them step up for a change!) and that "State Republican Party spokesman Bridger Pierce said more challenges were planned in coming days."

But it looks like Pierce and the Republicans have decided to cut and run, instead.

Yesterday, we're happy to announce, faced with a party actually willing to push back by taking them to court, the Montana GOP "waved the white flag of surrender" and backed off their phony challenges, according to AP:

In a letter sent to election officials in seven counties today (Tuesday), Montana Republican Party executive director Jacob Eaton said he was withdrawing the challenges and would be issuing no more.

We'll hope the Dems do not drop their lawsuit, however, since much of the damage has been done already, whether the democracy-hating Republicans withdraw their challenges or not. Either way, this one has a happy-ish ending. For the moment.

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