Attorney General Marty Jackley is working to beat back the misinformation coming from diehard excusers of convicted felon Annette Bosworth. Saturday he told this blog that the state attempted to negotiate plea arrangements that would have left the convicted petition perjurer “in a better place then she currently is in relation to any potential sentence or permanent record.” That statement responds to the unsubstantiated claim made by Gordon Howie Friday that the state refused to accept repeated plea offers from Bosworth’s lawyers.
AG Jackley speaks to WNAX Radio this morning and says holding Bosworth accountable maintains the integrity of our electoral process. He rebuts the notion that signing the circulator’s oath on a petition one did not circulate is a simple mistake amidst complicated election law:
Overall when you look at our election process, it’s fairly simple. This wasn’t a situation of a mistake…. Clearly when you circulate it, it says “in your presence.” That speaks for itself [Attorney General Marty Jackley, interview “Jackley Defends Election Laws,” WNAX Radio, 2015.06.08].
I agree with the Attorney General that the petition rules are pretty simple. As I’ve been marching my own referendum petitions around Aberdeen, signers have asked if the SB 69 petition has anything to do with “that Bosworth thing” they heard about in the news. Seizing the teachable moment, I say, “Sure does!” and show them the circulator’s oath, which begins with the same twenty words on candidate and ballot measure petitions alike:
I, under oath, state that I circulated the above petition, that each signer personally signed this petition in my presence… [SDAR 05:02:08:00.03].
I read those words to interested signers and say, “Make sense?” So far, every one of them has said, “Yeah, that’s pretty clear.”
Clear rules like this won’t deter candidates from running for office. Enforcing rules like this on all candidates who violate them will help keep candidates honest and elections clean.