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Good News: SB 69 Petition Filing Window Bigger. Bad News: Court Challenge Deadline Now Absurd

Thanks to House amendment, Senate Bill 69 now would set the deadline for filing nominating petitions as the third Tuesday in March. That’s one or two weeks (depending on the year) earlier than the current deadline of last Tuesday in March, but it’s three weeks later than the Board of Elections’ original proposal to cut off petition submission on the last Tuesday of February. SB 69 still move the petition start date a full month earlier, to December 1. While we still have less time to recruit candidates, legislators are offering us more time to circulate, including a vital week or two after the end of the session. Yay.

But legislators have approved another deadline on that third Tuesday of March. Remember Senate Bill 67, which was meant to help citizens file timely court challenges to suspect petitions? SB 67 and SB 69 were supposed to work together to create a definite two-week window for filing court challenges. House State Affairs remembered that when it moved both deadlines back a week. The House forgot:

Petition Deadline Court Challenge Deadline
original proposal last Tuesday in February second Tuesday in March
03/06/15 first Tuesday in March third Tuesday in March
03/10/15 third Tuesday in March third Tuesday in March

Senate Bill 69 now sets the deadline for filing petitions on the same day as the deadline for filing court challenges thereagainst… meaning that it would be impossible for concerned citizens to take the majority of petitioners to court.

To paraphrase Rep. Mickelson, this is what happens when you try to change a bill on the House floor on the last day for passing bills from the second chamber. Rewrite!


  1. Nick Nemec 2015-03-11 09:20

    Vote against the entire package and come back with a realistic proposal next year.

  2. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-03-11 17:57

    Cory is right, this is absurd.

    Nick is right, start over next year and don’t screw it up.

    The saying is true, great minds do think alike.

  3. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-03-11 18:55

    Deb, I’d like to think we could salvage something from SB 69… but you know, we already have all we need in Senate Bill 68. That bill requires the Secretary of State to check each statewide nominating petition with 5% random sampling. That verification process won’t catch every error, but it carries out the original intent of the whole petition reform push: to increase accountability. SB 68 alone improves the status quo. It does not need SB 69 or SB 67. Let ’em die.

  4. mike from iowa 2015-03-11 19:06

    Wingnut mantra-if it works,break it and blame Obama. After it is broken,make sure it stays that way and blame Obama. After you blame Obama,blame Obama some more. Sit back and get reappointed to the gubmint teat.

  5. mike from iowa 2015-03-11 19:09

    Looks like PNR swallowed the Blarney Stone,again.

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