A judge has dismissed a St. Joseph Republican's lawsuit over Susan Montee's right to vote here.

Buchanan County Judge Randall Jackson ruled Friday that Richard "Doug" Goolsby's lawsuit is moot because the voting challenge was made too late; the November election was not in dispute, therefore giving no legal justification for considering Ms. Montee's residency; and the claim of official impropriety "falls far short" of the burden for proving a federal civil rights violation.

Any proper challenge to Ms. Montee's residency would've needed to come before the ballot was issued and the vote was cast, according to state law, Mr. Jackson wrote in his ruling.

Mr. Goolsby filed suit the day of the November election against Buchanan County Clerk Pat Conway for allowing Ms. Montee to vote absentee, alleging that she now lives in Jefferson City. He later alleged Mr. Conway violated his civil rights by allowing Ms. Montee to vote.

Politically, the case squared off the camps of the two highest-ranking officials in Northwest Missouri.

Ms. Montee, a Democrat, is the Missouri state auditor. Mr. Goolsby is represented by the law firm of Graves Bartle Marcus & Garrett, which includes Todd Graves, the brother of Republican Congressman Sam Graves. The suit had sought depositions of Ms. Montee and her ex-husband, attorney James Montee.

Mr. Conway said earlier that he decided not to act on the challenge after researching Ms. Montee's status. Ms. Montee has maintained her voter registration at a Miller Road home, and she is still listed as an owner of the property with the Buchanan County recorder of deeds, Mr. Conway said.

"No Missouri case has allowed a post-election request to remove a voter from the registration list or to challenge an individual voter's qualifications ..." Mr. Jackson wrote.

Also, the lawsuit failed to show Mr. Conway acted unlawfully, and even if he had, "such an isolated instance of impropriety concerning a single voter falls far short of meeting Plaintiff's burden of alleging and proving such serious and widespread violations so as to rise to the level of a federal civil rights cause of action," Mr. Jackson wrote.

Mr. Goolsby's attorney, Edward Greim, said he plans to "carefully watch Ms. Montee's actions and Mr. Conway's actions." He also noted that the ruling never determined whether Ms. Montee would be a valid Buchanan County voter.

Joe Blumberg can be reached

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