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HELENA — Republicans who are suing the state to end open primary elections are appealing a district judge's order denying their request to close elections while the case is being decided.

Attorney and Rep. Matthew Monforton of Bozeman filed the appeal Thursday after filing the lawsuit in September on behalf of five Republican county central committees. The Republican State Central Committee voted overwhelmingly last week to join the lawsuit, giving it more clout.

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The lawsuit asks a federal judge to strike down as unconstitutional Montana laws allowing any registered voter to participate in any party primary.

District Judge Brian Morris wrote in his order last week that the record contains no evidence at this point that non-Republicans actually have voted on Republican tickets leading to the election of certain candidates.

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