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JP race winner faces electioneering complaint

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POLSON — With 12 candidates vying for Lake County Justice of the Peace in a general election, the race was unusual; and now there’s an additional twist. On Nov. 9, the Commissioner of Political Practices’ office in Helena confirmed receipt of a formal complaint filed against Joey Jayne of Arlee, who won the Justice of the Peace race with 2,142 votes, or 18.38 percent. Rick Schoening finished second with 1,993 votes at 17.1 percent.

The complaint alleges Jayne violated Montana Code Annotated 13-35-211 by appearing in the Lake County Election Office on Nov. 5, while people were registering to vote and voting, and handing out campaign business cards. Filed by Janet Munn and Kathie Newgard, the complaint was sent with supporting evidence — a photocopy of the cards Jayne was handing out — and the names of several witnesses and election results. 

The complaint has to be accepted within five days. If the CPPO accepts the complaint, it is investigated and a decision is issued, according to Mary Baker from the CPPO office.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office investigated the complaint. Undersheriff Dan Yonkin took the initial complaint, preserved evidence and contacted the CPPO. 

Jayne declined to comment on the issue.

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