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Lawsuit asks for redraw of Montana Public Service Commission districts

Shaylee Rager
UM Legislative News Service

Two former politicians and a college student are suing the state to contest district boundaries for Montana’s utility oversight board.

The lawsuit filed in federal court alleges the five Public Service Commission districts drawn in 2003 no longer equally represent the state’s population. It requests the court stop Montana Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen from using the districts for future elections, and asks for a three-judge panel to redraw the districts.

The next PSC election is in 2022.

Former Secretary of State Bob Brown, a Montana State University student and former Gallatin County Commissioner Don Seifert argue in their suit that the districts are “unconstitutionally malapportioned.”

The lawsuit says current PSC districts don’t reflect western Montana’s population growth over the past decade.

Richie Melby, a spokesperson for Jacobsen, said Tuesday that the secretary of state’s office hasn’t yet been served with the lawsuit.
Copyright 2021 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.

Shaylee is a UM Journalism School student. She reports and helps produce Montana Evening News on MTPR.