HELENA, MT – Today, the Montana Supreme Court named Maylinn Smith the Presiding Officer of the Montana Districting and Apportionment Commission, an independent five-member commission authorized by the Montana Constitution to draw the boundaries of congressional and legislative districts every 10 years following the most recent U.S. Census.
The Montana Republican Party released the following statement after Smith’s appointment:
“With legislative districts across Montana being redrawn and the looming possibility of a second congressional seat, the Presiding Officer of the Montana Districting and Apportionment Commission will play an outsized role in shaping the next decade of Montana politics and must serve as a non-biased, neutral arbiter to ensure a fair process for all interests,” said MTGOP Chairman Don ‘K’ Kaltschmidt. “It’s very disappointing to see the Montana Supreme Court appoint someone to this position with a blatant partisan past. Our state needs a Presiding Officer they can trust to put the best interests of Montana first – not just the Democratic Party or liberal activists.”
Maylinn Smith has a lengthy history of partisan political activity, including donating thousands of dollars to Democrat candidates such as Denise Jeaneau and Jon Tester and speaking at Democrat-sponsored events.
While Republicans have shown an ability and desire to increase transparency in the entire chair selection process, the Montana Supreme Court chose to nominate a Democrat behind closed doors without public involvement. This decision continues the concerning tradition of allowing Democrat insiders to Chair the redistricting process, which also occurred in 2000 and 2010.
The lack of public involvement in this process is an affront to the transparency Montanans expect and deserve from their Government, and the Court’s decision to appoint someone with a partisan past as the Presiding Officer raises a red flag for those that wish to see a balanced Districting and Apportionment Commission.