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APB: Fake 18% Rate Cap Petitioners Assault Aberdeen

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. They save the fake 18% rate cap petition for last.
  4. They don’t explain the fake 18% rate cap much if at all.
  5. 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

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.


  1. mike from iowa 2015-09-19 14:34

    Okay,enough is enough. Where the hell is law enforcement? These people are violating the law and should be shut down yesterday if not sooner. Jackley needs a boot up his bunns to get him to do his job,once again.

  2. Roger Elgersma 2015-09-19 15:19

    and take as much of their time as possible. I also explain in detail what con artists their employers are for not paying them for the signitures when I sign one but not the rest. This is their employer conning them to get us to sign a bad petition. Some did not know this is such a scam when I explain that all loans need to be signed so this makes no difference at all.

  3. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-09-19 15:23

    That’s right Mike. It’s a sad thing for SD when the citizens have to try to reduce election fraud because the state isn’t. Is that because the SD State Republican/Koch* legislature supports the fraud? That would mean that SD’s R/K government is defrauding the citizens.

    *Every Republican legislator in SD is not a card-carrying member of the Koch Cabal. Those who aren’t, or who are ignoring the evidence of Koch control, need to speak up!

  4. Mrs. Nelson 2015-09-19 16:00

    I was there today, must have missed it. I’m glad someone shooed them away – will keep an eye out for them…

  5. Notinks 2015-09-19 17:28

    I worked the 36% petition at the Sioux Falls Farmers Market today. People are very weary of these tactics. It is making it very hard to get our legit petition signed. Please spread the word to folks that simply not signing any petitions at all is not the solution. Don’t let these sleezeballs take away your right to participate in the democratic process.

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-09-19 18:14

    Roger, yes, take up their time! Don’t start a fistfight, but engage them in the conversation one would expect of trustworthy, conscientious petitioners trying to educate the public. Find out as much as you can from them… and if at all possible, have your camera rolling.

    Notinks, I feel your pain. These fakers are causing a world of hurt for real petitioners, making us burn up valuable time re-establishing trust. Of course, that’s the payday lenders’ intention. They don’t want democracy. They don’t want the voters expressing their will.

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-09-19 20:59

    Mrs. Nelson, I think they arrived sometime after 10:30. That’s when I got there, and I saw no sign of them in the parking lot. I was in the expo building for the next 2.5 hours taking signatures. After 11, folks started telling me they’d already signed the anti-gerrymandering petition for “a couple girls” outside. Shortly after that, the really big security guy came up to me, said he’d booted the three circulators outside, but would let me stay since I’d been invited by rent-paying booth owners and was working only in the immediate vicinity of that booth. So the fakers may not have been on site for much more than an hour. They did not appear to press their luck with a return visit for the rest of the day. Keep an eye out around town, and let us know if you see them!

  8. Bob Klein 2015-09-19 21:00

    What’s the penalty if I destroy one of the 18% petitions being presented to me for my signature?

  9. Bob Newland 2015-09-19 21:14

    Here is the practical picture.

    Some folks appear to be flagrantly violating the law with regard to whom may circulate and witness the signing of petitions to the ballot. They have been reported for their behavior. They seem to be continuing with their cheap grift. However, their behavior is not unnoticed.

    Let them spend money paying circulators, along with the other costs associated with any political campaign. In the end, their signatures will meet muster, or not. Meantime, their activity is probably pretty much legal, if incompetent. I mean “legal” in the sense that pretty much anybody can ask anybody to sign anything. Whether that signature has any legal weight is decided in the Secretary of State’s office, and I have a fair amount of faith in the SOS to weed out the bullshit.

    And in the end, even if a ballot question with marginal support makes the ballot, the voters decide. Right?

  10. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-09-19 21:16

    First, Bob, don’t do it. We don’t win with violence.

    Now, legally speaking, I’ve wondered what would happen if an angry citizen who didn’t like my petitions grabbed my papers and destroyed them. Off hand, I can’t think of a specific penalty for interfering with the petition process. SDCL 12-26-12 makes “persecution, threats, or intimidation to influence vote” a misdemeanor, but we’re not talking about directly influencing a vote; we’re talking about using violence to prevent a matter from being put to a vote. But SDCL 12-26-28 says that laws applying to candidate elections apply equally to votes on ballot measures, so maybe there’s a way to tie them together and prosecute petition interference.

    Bob’s question gets me thinking about the dean’s list student and apparent Trump supporter (categories one would think would be mutually exclusive) who ripped up a Latino student’s protest sign. I don’t think she was charged with anything.

    And when I back up to the payday lenders’ dirty blocking tactics in Missouri, I don’t know if anyone was ever prosecuted for interfering with the petition process. It feels as if they should be, but under what statute?

    I suppose the aggrieved petitioner could file a civil rights lawsuit, saying you deprived him or her of First Amendment rights.

    But maybe this isn’t complicated. Maybe it’s just straight-up disorderly conduct, per SDCL 22-18-35. Your thoughts?

  11. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-09-19 21:20

    Thanks for reminding me, Bob, that I need to chill out and go watch some Star Trek. If stupid, deceitful measures make the ballot, then we just have to work hard to educate everyone to vote the right way next year.

    But it still rankles me that people are trying to trick South Dakota voters. I don’t like being tricked.

  12. Bob Newland 2015-09-19 21:25

    Violence? I think there was no claw hammer implication in anything I said.

  13. Ryan Gaddy 2015-09-20 00:21

    Thank you Cory! Let’s keep the heat on these fakers! I have taken the weekend and been checking Mitchell. . . No sign of them here. I will be back in SF tomorrow. . . I plan to change my appearance and catch them on camera again!

  14. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-09-20 07:43

    Other Bob, Bob—Bob Klein!

  15. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-09-20 07:44

    Change your appearance? Mustache? Wig? Flower skirt? I can’t wait to see the video!

  16. grudznick 2015-09-20 09:04

    Mr. Newland, I recommend using any and all initiated law sheets like a sneeze hanky and then handing it back with a sweet smile and thank you.

  17. grudznick 2015-09-20 22:06

    Next I bet you these 18% interest cap people will probably start popping up in other towns and shadowing some of the 36% interest cap people at the malls and things where they are working. It will drive people to anger over signing so many things and they will just vote No, No, No on ballot day.

  18. Kathy Gustafson 2015-09-21 09:27

    Is it legal to sign with a fake name? Like Thisi Sasham?

  19. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-09-21 14:19

    Great signature Kathy. I assume your signer lives in St. Nop Lace?

  20. Bob Klein 2015-09-21 21:48

    The “petitions” that were out at the Sioux Empire Fair weren’t even petitions. They were pieces of paper with names and addresses on them. No civil rights involved there.

    I agree, I don’t want to be in on it.

  21. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-09-21 23:24

    Careful, Kathy! Singing an initiative or referendum petition with a false name is a Class 1 misdemeanor! See SDCL 2-1-6.

    But your proposed pseudonym, like Deb’s proposed faux toponym, is brilliant. :-) And to prosecute, the circulator would have to testify in court and somehow establish that he/she remembers exactly when you signed and can associate your face with the fake signature. And for most of these shady circulators, that would require driving all the way back to South Dakota.

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