Montana, USA, regional Popular or citizens initiative [PCI] - Amendment by initiative

General Typology

Instrument
Popular or citizens initiative [PCI]
Location
Montana, USA
Political level
regional
Local Name:
Amendment by initiative
Normative Level:
constitutional
Legally Binding:
yes
Legally Defined:

Montana Constitution, Article XIV
Section 9
(1) The people may also propose constitutional amendments by initiative. Petitions including the full text of the proposed amendment shall be signed by at least ten percent of the qualified electors of the state. That number shall include at least ten percent of the qualified electors in each of at least one-half of the counties.
(2) The petitions shall be filed with the secretary of state. If the petitions are found to have been signed by the required number of electors, the secretary of state shall cause the amendment to be published as provided by law twice each month for two months previous to the next regular state-wide election.
(3) At that election, the proposed amendment shall be submitted to the qualified electors for approval or rejection. If approved by a majority voting thereon, it shall become a part of the constitution effective the first day of July following its approval, unless the amendment provides otherwise.

Section 10
The number of qualified electors required for the filing of any petition provided for in this Article shall be determined by the number of votes cast for the office of governor in the preceding general election.

Source: The Constitution of the State of Montana (Montana Code Annotated) (accessed 10 Juli 2017)

Subject Matter:

Enacting constitutional amendments via initiative

Actors

Author:
Citizen
Initiator:
Electorate : 10% of the electors in the state with 10% of the electors in each of 1/2 of the counties calculated by number of votes cast for governor in last general election (Montana Constitution, Article XIV, Section 9 & 10)
Decision maker:
Electorate

Requirements

Number Of Signatures:
10% of the electors in the state with 10% of the electors in each of 1/2 of the counties calculated by number of votes cast for governor in last general election (Montana Constitution, Article XIV, Section 9 & 10)
Available Time:
between 1 year before the election and 4 weeks before the third Friday of the fourth month before the election (see Other Formal Requirements)
Turnout Quorum:
Legal source does not mention turnout quorum
Approval Quorum:
Legal source does not mention approval quorum
Geographical Quorum:
No geographical quorum for passing, however signatures equaling at least 10% of the number of votes for governor in the last general election in each of 1/2 of the counties must be collected to file a petition (Montana Constitution, Article XIV, Section 9
Excluded Issues:
Other Formal Requirements:

Signatures may be collected from 1 year before the election (after receiving a sample petition form from the secretary of state) and must be submitted to county officials between 9 months and 4 weeks before the final filing deadline with the secretary of state. The final filing deadline with the secretary of state is "5 p.m. of the third Friday of the fourth month prior to the election at which they are to be voted upon by the people" (Montana Code Annotated; 13-27-104, 13-27-202, 13-27-301).

Procedural Elements

Collection Mode:
free
Specify Collection Mode:

Montana Code Annotated (accessed 10 Juli 2017)

13-27-102
(1) A petition for the initiative, the referendum, or to call a constitutional convention may be signed only by a qualified elector of the state of Montana.
(2) A person gathering signatures for the initiative, the referendum, or to call a constitutional convention:
(a) must be a resident, as provided in 1-1-215, of the state of Montana; and
(b) may not be paid anything of value based upon the number of signatures gathered.

13-27-201
(1) A petition for the initiative, for the referendum, or to call a constitutional convention must be substantially in the form provided by this chapter. Clerical or technical errors that do not interfere with the ability to judge the sufficiency of signatures on the petition do not render a petition void.
(2) Petition sheets may not exceed 8 1/2 x 14 inches in size. Separate sheets of a petition may be fastened in sections of not more than 25 sheets. Near the top of each sheet containing signature lines must be printed the title of the statute or constitutional amendment proposed or the issue to be referred or a statement that the petition is for the purpose of calling a constitutional convention. If signature lines are printed on both the front and back of a petition sheet, the information required above must appear on both the front and back of the sheet. The complete text of the issue proposed or referred must be attached to or contained within each signature sheet if sheets are circulated separately. The text of the issue must be in the bill form provided in the most recent edition of the bill drafting manual furnished by the legislative services division. If sheets are circulated in sections, the complete text of the issue must be attached to each section.
(3) An internet posting of petition language must include a statement that the petition language and format may not be modified. An internet posting must include an affidavit in substantially the same form as prescribed by the secretary of state pursuant to 13-27-302.

13-27-202
[...] A signature gatherer may circulate the petition only in the form of the sample prepared by the secretary of state. [...]

Wording Of Ballot Question:

Montana Constitution, Article XIV, Section 11
If more than one amendment is submitted at the same election, each shall be so prepared and distinguished that it can be voted upon separately.

Montana Code Annotated (accessed 10 Juli 2017)

13-27-312
[...]
(5) Unless altered by the court under 13-27-316, the statement of purpose and implication is the petition title for the issue circulated by the petition and the ballot title if the issue is placed on the ballot.
(6) The yes and no statements must be written so that a positive vote indicates support for the issue and a negative vote indicates opposition to the issue [...]

13-27-501
(1) The secretary of state shall furnish to the official of each county responsible for preparation of the ballots, at the same time as the election administrator certifies the names of the persons who are candidates for offices to be filled at the election, a certified copy of the form in which each ballot issue to be voted on by the people at that election is to appear on the ballot.
(2) The secretary of state shall list for each ballot issue:
(a) the number;
(b) the method of placement on the ballot;
(c) the title;
(d) the attorney general's explanatory statement, if applicable;
(e) the fiscal statement, if applicable;
(f) the statement of purpose and implication;
(g) the yes and no statements; and
(h) a statement that the ballot issue conflicts with one or more issues, referenced by number, that also appear on the ballot, if applicable.
(3) When required to do so, the secretary of state shall use for each ballot issue the title of the legislative act or legislative constitutional proposal or the title provided by the attorney general or district court. Following the number of the ballot issue, the secretary of state, when required to do so, shall include one of the following statements to identify why the issue has been placed on the ballot:
(a) an act referred by the legislature;
(b) an amendment to the constitution proposed by the legislature;
(c) an act of the legislature referred by referendum petition; or
(d) a law or constitutional amendment proposed by initiative petition.

Interaction With Authorities:

Montana Constitution, Article IV, Section 7
[...]
(3) If the election on an initiative or referendum properly qualifying for the ballot is declared invalid because the election was improperly conducted, the secretary of state shall submit the issue to the qualified electors at the next regularly scheduled statewide election unless the legislature orders a special election.

Montana Code Annotated (accessed 10 Juli 2017)

13-27-202
(1) A proponent of a ballot issue shall submit the text of the proposed ballot issue to the secretary of state together with draft ballot issue statements intended to comply with 13-27-312. [...] The secretary of state shall forward a copy of the text of the proposed issue and statements to the legislative services division for review.
(2) (a) The legislative services division staff shall review the text and statements for clarity, consistency, and conformity with the most recent edition of the bill drafting manual [...] and any other factors that the staff considers when drafting proposed legislation.
(b) Within 14 days after submission of the text and statements, the legislative services division staff shall recommend in writing to the proponent revisions to the text and revisions to the statements [...] or state that no revisions are recommended.
(c) The proponent shall consider the recommendations and respond in writing to the legislative services division, accepting, rejecting, or modifying each of the recommended revisions. If revisions are not recommended, a response is not required.
[...]
(4) Before a petition may be circulated for signatures, the final text of the proposed issue and ballot statements must be submitted to the secretary of state. [...] If accepted, the secretary of state shall refer a copy of the proposed issue and statements to the attorney general for a determination as to the legal sufficiency of the issue and for approval of the petitioner's ballot statements and for a determination pursuant to 13-27-312 as to whether a fiscal note is necessary.
(5) (a) The secretary of state shall review the legal sufficiency opinion and ballot statements of the petitioner, as approved by the attorney general and received pursuant to 13-27-312.
(b) If the attorney general approves the proposed issue, the secretary of state shall immediately send to the person submitting the proposed issue a sample petition form, including the text of the proposed issue, the statement of purpose and implication, and the yes and no statements, as prepared by the petitioner, reviewed by the legislative services division, and approved by the attorney general and in the form provided by this part. [...]
(c) If the attorney general rejects the proposed issue, the secretary of state shall send written notice to the person who submitted the proposed issue of the rejection, including the attorney general's legal sufficiency opinion.
(d) If an action is filed challenging the validity of the petition, the secretary of state shall immediately notify the person who submitted the proposed issue.

13-27-312
(1) Upon receipt of a proposed ballot issue and statements from the office of the secretary of state pursuant to 13-27-202, the attorney general shall examine the proposed ballot issue for legal sufficiency as provided in this section and shall determine whether the ballot statements comply with the requirements of this section.
(2) The attorney general shall, in reviewing the ballot statements, endeavor to seek out parties on both sides of the issue and obtain their advice. The attorney general shall review the ballot statements to determine if they contain the following matters:
(a) a statement of purpose and implication, not to exceed 135 words, explaining the purpose and implication of the issue; and
(b) yes and no statements in the form prescribed in subsection (6)
(3) If the proposed ballot issue has an effect on the revenue, expenditures, or fiscal liability of the state, the attorney general shall order a fiscal note [...] If the fiscal note indicates a fiscal impact, the attorney general shall prepare a fiscal statement of no more than 50 words, and the statement must be used on the petition and ballot if the issue is placed on the ballot.
(4) The ballot statements must express the true and impartial explanation of the proposed ballot issue in plain, easily understood language and may not be arguments or written so as to create prejudice for or against the issue.
[...]
(7) The attorney general shall review the proposed ballot issue for legal sufficiency. [...]

Supervision And Support:

Montana Code Annotated (accessed 10 Juli 2017)

13-27-301
(1) Signed sheets or sections of petitions with original signatures must be submitted to the official responsible for registration of electors in the county in which the signatures were obtained no sooner than 9 months and no later than 4 weeks before the final date for filing the petition with the secretary of state.
[...]

13-27-302
An affidavit, in substantially the following form, must be attached to each sheet or section submitted to the county official:
I, (name of person who is the signature gatherer), swear that I gathered the signatures on the petition to which this affidavit is attached on the stated dates, that I believe the signatures on the petition are genuine, are the signatures of the persons whose names they purport to be, and are the signatures of Montana electors who are registered at the address or have the telephone number following the person's signature, and that the signers knew the contents of the petition before signing the petition. [(spaces for date first signature was gathered, gatherer's signature, notary's signature)]

13-27-303
(1) Except as required by 13-27-104, within 4 weeks after receiving the sheets or sections of a petition, the county official shall check the names of all signers to verify they are registered electors of the county. In addition, the official shall randomly select signatures on each sheet or section and compare them with the signatures of the electors as they appear in the registration records of the office. If all the randomly selected signatures appear to be genuine, the number of signatures of registered electors on the sheet or section may be certified to the secretary of state without further comparison of signatures. If any of the randomly selected signatures do not appear to be genuine, all signatures on that sheet or section must be compared with the signatures in the registration records of the office.
[...]

13-27-311
(1) If a constitutional amendment proposed by initiative is submitted to the people, the secretary of state shall have the proposed amendment published in full twice each month for 2 months prior to the election at which it is to be voted upon by the people in not less than one newspaper of general circulation in each county.
[...]

13-27-401
(1) The secretary of state shall prepare for printing a voter information pamphlet containing information relevant to the election, including but not limited to the following information for each ballot issue to be voted on at an election, as applicable:
(a) ballot title, fiscal statement if applicable, and complete text of the issue;
(b) the form in which the issue will appear on the ballot;
(c) arguments advocating approval and rejection of the issue; and
(d) rebuttal arguments.
[...]

13-27-402
(1) The arguments advocating approval or rejection of the ballot issue and rebuttal arguments must be submitted to the secretary of state by committees appointed as provided in this section.
[...]
(4) The following must be three-member committees and must be appointed by the person submitting the ballot issue to the secretary of state under the provisions of 13-27-202:
(a) the committee advocating approval of a ballot issue proposed by any type of initiative petition [...]
(5) A committee advocating rejection of a ballot issue proposed by any type of initiative petition must be composed of five members. The governor, attorney general, president of the senate, and speaker of the house of representatives shall each appoint one member, and the fifth member must be appointed by the first four members. If possible, members must be known to favor rejection of the issue.
[...]

13-27-410
[...](3) The department of administration shall call for bids and contract with the lowest bidder for the printing and delivery of the voter information pamphlet. The contract must require completion of printing and shipment, as specified on the delivery list, of the voter information pamphlets by not later than 45 days before the election at which the ballot issues will be voted on by the people.
(4) The county official responsible for voter registration in each county shall mail one copy of the voter information pamphlet to each registered voter in the county who is on the active voter list [...]

Transparency And Finance:

Montana Code Annotated (accessed 10 Juli 2017)

13-27-112
(1) Except as provided in this section, a person who employs a paid signature gatherer shall file with the commissioner reports containing those matters required by Title 13, chapter 37, part 2, for a political committee organized to support or oppose a ballot issue or for an independent committee that receives contributions and makes expenditures in connection with a ballot issue, as applicable. If a person who employs a paid signature gatherer is required by Title 13, chapter 37, part 2, to file a report pursuant to those provisions, the person need not file a duplicate report pursuant to this section, but shall report the matter required by subsection (2) as part of that report. As used in this section, "a person who employs a paid signature gatherer" means a political party, political committee, or other person seeking to place a ballot issue before the electors and does not mean an individual who is part of the same signature gathering company, partnership, or other business organization that directly hires, supervises, and pays an individual who is a signature gatherer.
[...]

Practice

Archive:
Remarks: