Letters to the Editor

Did the Court approve an unconstitutional Constitution? Dear Editor, Montana’s present Constitution was presented to the citizens of Montana at a primary election held on June 6, 1972. A separate constitutional election ballot set forth (in part): “If the proposed constitution fails to receive a majority of the votes cast….” The official abstract of the canvass by the Secretary of State shows that because 237,600 electors voted at the election, and less than half of that number (116,415) voted for the proposed 1972 Constitution, it lacked the required majority approval to take effect. It is true that apparently some of the voted ballots (about 5,000) were not marked either for or against. Results show 116,415 voted “for” and 113,883 voted “against.” Montana’s original Constitution in Article XIX, Sec. 9 (in part) says: “the said amendment or amendments shall be submitted to the qualified electors of the state for their approval or rejection and such as are approved by a majority of those voting thereon shall become a part of the Constitution.” On Aug. 18, 1972, the Montana Supreme Court decided it had passed, because more voted for the new constitution than against it, not more than a majority of the votes cast. I feel this is the beginning of the court and later the rest of Montana government, deciding the Constitution could be changed to say what they, that part of government, wanted it to mean. It seems to no longer be the basic law of the state. Jim Paugh Coffee Creek



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