Five Montana political candidates were removed from the ballot yesterday, August 14, after a decision by state Political Practices Commissioner Jonathan Motl.

"The technical reason the candidates were removed from the ballot is that they failed to file required documents," Motl said. "Every candidate knows they need to file a campaign finance disclosure listing their contributions and expenditures 12 days before the primary and 20 days after the primary."

Motl says 42 Montana candidates failed to file on time and that his office heard a very common excuse.

"The most common reason given was 'I didn't spend any money,'" Motl said. "But the statute requires that you disclose that you didn't spend any money. That information, the fact that you didn't spend any money... the press and the public wants to know that as much as they want to know how much you did spend... I mean it is still information."

37 candidates chose to file late and will face a 100 dollar fine. According to Secretary of State Linda McCulloch the five candidates who were removed will now need to be replaced.

"Now the Parties get to replace those candidates on the ballot and they have to do that, make that appointment, no later than August 20th, which is the 76th day before the election."

Each party has its own process for nominating new candidates. The five candidates that were removed are Libertarian legislative candidates Joshua Austill and Nicholas Taffs, Republican Richard Tenneson, non-partisan Mineral County commission candidate Robert McCandless, and Democrat William Wilson, who was running to be a Cascade County commissioner.

It was not clear to the Secretary of State's office how non-partisan candidates would be replaced and said those decisions are made within the cities and counties.

Jonthan Motl: