Three petitioners carrying the fake 18% rate cap petition were ejected from the Brown County Fairgrounds today for petitioning without permission of the NESD Celtic Faire and Games, the private group that is renting the fairgrounds this weekend. Their modus operandi matched what we saw in the video of fake 18-percenters at SDSU Thursday:
- Two people rope in signers while a third takes signatures. In this case, the “ropers” were a young man who told one observer he’s from Texas and a young woman who had a thick Southern accent, perhaps from Georgia. The third team member was a young redhaired woman who told an observer she’s from South Dakota.
- The circulators were presenting the petitions on gerrymandering (no! Farmers Union! Tell me you’re not involved with these fakers!), Marsy’s Law, Libertarians, and the fake 18% rate cap.
- They save the fake 18% rate cap petition for last.
- They don’t explain the fake 18% rate cap much if at all.
- They do not “provide to each person who signs the petition a form containing the title and explanation of the initiated constitutional amendment as prepared by the attorney general,” as required by SDCL 2-1-1.1.
Unlike the circulators at SDSU, these petitioners did not seek permission from the Celtic Faire to circulate at their event. When suspicious citizens asked questions, the circulators shied away. A very big security guard in a kilt finally asked these three petitioners to leave.
Multiple citizens I spoke with said they felt they had been tricked into signing the fake 18% rate cap petition and asked if there is any way they can have their names removed from that petition. Individuals who want their names removed from a petition should contact the circulators if they see them around town and demand that their names be removed. If citizens cannot find the circulators, citizens should contact the ballot measure sponsor, tell the sponsor when and where they signed, and demand removal of their names.
In this case, citizens who’ve been misled into signing the fake 18% rate cap petition should contact ballot measure sponsor Lisa Furlong:
- Mail: 580 DEXTER DRIVE #101 NORTH SIOUX CITY SD 57049
- E-mail: SDFORFAIRLENDING@GMAIL.COM
One can try phoning Furlong, but given the importance of this issue, it would be wise for citizens to document their request in writing so that they can check whatever petition is submitted to see if the sponsor complied with the demand to remove their names.
Meanwhile, Aberdeen, keep your eyes open. Some circulators have been scared out of Sioux Falls and Rapid City by the media coverage of their shady tactics; now it is Aberdeen’s turn to watch for, avoid, and warn others about these profiteering and deceptive circulators who are abusing our petition process.
Of course, the challenge now is to shut down these fake 18-percenters while still respecting and helping legitimate South Dakota circulators… like me! The best thing to do is, any time you see a person (or especially a three-person team) handling signatures, walk right up, ask them who they are, where they are from, and what they are doing.
And note: The professional circulators carrying multiple petitions very often are paid by the set, meaning they have to get signatures on all three or four petitions that they are carrying in order to get paid. If you like one or more other petitions, sign them, but leave your name off the fake 18% rate cap petition, the circulator doesn’t get paid for those signatures. So if you want to drive those circulators crazy, sign the petitions they hand you first, then skip the 18-percenter.