Someone is committing petition fraud at the Sioux Empire Fair. A Dakota Free Press correspondent sends this video of two men trying to trick fairgoers into signing a fake initiative petition:
Fairgoers, these two men are lying to you. They are not circulating a legitimate ballot measure petition. As of the date of this video, Sunday, August 3, 2015, Secretary of State Shantel Krebs has not authorized the circulation of any petition dealing with an 18% interest rate cap. We know that Lisa Furlong of North Sioux City has submitted such a petition to Attorney General Marty Jackley for review, but until the AG submits his explanation (he has until September 11) and the SOS approves, no one may collect signatures on that 18%-rate-cap petition, and any signatures collected are invalid. These men are thus breaking South Dakota law.
Notice that these two gentlemen very clearly distinguish their petition from the entirely legitimate and circulating petition seeking a 36% interest rate cap (“Hildebrand is the 36”), although they try very hard to say their petition and the legitimate one “are the same concept.” These two circulators say their petition seeks to place their 18% rate cap on the ballot. They cannot sufficiently explain the petition to the fairgoer asking questions (“I don’t know the exact lingo, but there are some things that are slightly different”). They do not offer the form containing the Attorney General’s explanation of the measure that SDCL 2-1-1.1 and SDCL 2-1-1.2 require them to provide to each person signing the petition.
To their credit, the circulators seem not to be explicitly discouraging fairgoers from signing both petitions. They tell the fairgoer at their table in this video that she can sign both petitions.
These circulators have no idea how many signatures are required to get the measure on the ballot. “I think it might be 5,000 to get on the ballot”? Uff da: if they were carrying the Furlong petition for a constitutional amendment, they would need 27,741 signatures, a figure that any circulator ought to be able to ball park.
But that number is irrelevant: the petition shown in this video is not legitimate. Signatures placed on it count for nothing. The men sitting at this table at the Sioux Empire Fair are deceiving voters. Fairgoers should avoid this fraud go to Booth #22, operated by South Dakotans for Responsible Lending, to sign the real, legitimate, 36% interest rate cap initiative petition.
Stay tuned for more on this developing story.
Update 15:03 CDT: A correspondent checks out the bogus 18% petition at the Sioux Empire Fair, turns the page, and discovers… nothing!
The petition sheets these circulators have are all laid out to display what appears to be the back page of the standard petition form recommended by the Secretary of State, with what from this photo and the above video appears to include the standard grid for collecting voter information, as well as the circulator’s oath and space for notary seal at the bottom. If this were a legitimate petition, the reverse would be the front side, listing the proposed statutory language and instructions to signers. The sheet at the top of this stack on the blue clipboard appears to be blank on the back, meaning it is not a legitimate petition for any ballot initiative.