Petition “Monitor” Job Irrelevant and Potentially Illegal—Care to Apply?

I find the following posting on Craigslist Sioux Falls for a job that does not legally exist:

Screen cap, Sioux Falls Craigslist, petition monitor job post, October 2, 2015.
Screen cap, Sioux Falls Craigslist, petition monitor job post, October 2, 2015.

Monitoring and witnessing signatures… interesting. Some petition organizer is offering to pay people money for a completely extraneous service. There is no such thing as a petition “monitor” or “witness” under South Dakota election law. There is only the circulator, who swears an oath to circulate the petition, witness every signature, reasonably inquire into each signer’s status as a registered voter, avoid violations of state law, and ensure that the information on each page is filled in by either the signers or the circulator him/herself.

I’ve written previously that “witnesses” are merely a dodge that out-of-state circulators are using to skirt South Dakota’s residency requirements. If carried out to the point where the resident “witness” signs the circulator’s oath on petitions, this practice subjects “witnesses” to charges of perjury and the actual out-of-state circulators to charges of suborning perjury.

Hiring witnesses on its own is not illegal; in our blessedly free country, petition organizers may hire South Dakotans to stand around and do nothing of practical or legal import all they want. But for all of you folks calling Employment Edge Staffing looking for this easy work, keep in mind that if your circulators ask you to affix your South Dakota signature to any document that you only “witness,” you could end up with an unpleasant trip to the Hughes County Courthouse and a felony conviction on your record. If you take the job, be sure to ask Employment Edge Staffing who’s actually hiring you so can call them for legal assistance when the Attorney General comes knocking.


3 Responses to Petition “Monitor” Job Irrelevant and Potentially Illegal—Care to Apply?

  1. Donald Pay

    Yup, it would be illegal for a “witness” or “monitor” to sign as a circulator. And the folks at Employment Edge Staffing, as well as the sponsors of this effort would also be guilty of engaging in an organized criminal activity. They could be filling the prison with these folks.

  2. “We are looking for motivated locals to go door to door to collect signatures from registered voters in Sioux Falls and surrounding towns. We need your help in collecting signatures so we can vote!”

    Thanks, Thomas! That ad makes a less questionable pitch. It seems to seek people to do actual circulating. Care to call that number (605-679-0265) and see which petitions they’ll pay you to circulate?

    I see the same phone number associated with this October 8 pitch for door-to-door signature collectors in Mitchell.