MTCIA Is Thinking About the Numbers

December 5, 2011

Montana’s population is less than a million. In 2008, we had a 74% election turnout. Fewer than 250,000 votes won a statewide race, or with the same turnout would win a statewide referendum.

Are there 250,000 votes in Montana to toss out the unconstitutional wreck of a law (SB 423) passed by the 2011 legislature meant to dismantle medical cannabis access in the state? Are there 250,000 votes to end prohibition of the adult use of cannabis in Montana?

Start looking around and ball parking. How many in Missoula? How many in Libby? How many in Billings? Bozeman? Great Falls?

But before there’s the general election next November when the referendums will be decided, there’s the primary in June. In primaries, voters choose either the Republican or Democratic ballot and vote on who will represent each party in the general election in November.

A democrat running for a statewide office could beat his or her democrat opponent by securing just over 45,000 votes. A republican may need around 70,000 in a two-way primary, depending on turnout. Given there’s currently 8 republicans running for Governor in the primary, the republican nominee could, theoretically, get the republican spot on the ballot with fewer than 20% of the number of signatures collected for IR –124.

Given that the referendum to put the law on the ballot received over 50,000 signatures, and the ballpark figure on how many of those are newly registered voters comes in at maybe 10,000 (we should have real numbers before too long), driving the outcome of a close statewide primary shouldn’t be too difficult for the cannabis vote –

if those who want an end to the political nonsense around cannabis policy acts as a voting block.

Power’s only power if you use it.

 

For historical data on voter turnout in Montana, go here.