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Russell May Survive Ballot Challenge Due to Plaintiff’s False Sworn Statement

Judge Patricia Devaney heard arguments in the Lance Russell ballot access case yesterday, but she said she needed another day to figure out how to help the another illegitimate candidate stay on the ballot.

Well, Her Honor didn’t say that last part, but I get a bad feeling that, just as Judge Devaney last month allowed two illegitimate candidates to remain on the District 7 House ballot, despite obvious violations of petition law, I have a bad feeling she’s going to let Russell cheat his way back onto the ballot in contradiction to the plain language of election law.

And unfortunately for lovers of the law, the Republican challenging Russell’s renomination, Heather Boche of Hot Springs, made one little error that may allow Judge Devaney to rule on a technicality of standing and deny us all a straight reading of the law. Boche swears in her affidavit and application for writ of prohibition that she voted in the June 5 primary among Russell, Bruce Rampelberg, and Patricia Shiery. Boche’s lawyer admits that that sworn statement is false:

Contrary to the statement in Boche’s affidavit, she didn’t vote in the June 5 primary, according to Tornow. “I believe she’s sworn falsely,” Tornow said.

Replied Jim Sword, the Fall River County state’s attorney who’s representing Boche: “She kinda did.” Sword acknowledged she didn’t vote June 5 but participated as a delegate at the July 27 meeting of the central committees.

“I don’t think that’s a fatal error. I think that’s an inexperienced voter,” Sword said [Bob Mercer, “With Time Nearly Out, State Judge Takes the Night to Rule on Russell’s Candidacy,” Pierre Capital Journal, 2018.08.13].

My non-lawyerly read says whether or not the plaintiff voted on June 5 is immaterial to her standing to bring this complaint. The plaintiff is a registered voter. She lives in District 30. She faces the risk of being presented a ballot in November bearing the name of an illegitimate candidate. And every point of law in the complaint is accurate: when a candidate withdraws from a race after the primary, as Russell did in June, statute prohibits placing that candidate’s name on the ballot, and statute only allows parties to fill vacancies created by such withdrawals with “new” nominees, not the same old withdrawn candidate.

But Boche made a false statement under oath to the court. I’ve said before that oaths matter, and Judge Devaney may be able to justify throwing out the entire writ just because Boche couldn’t get her own voting history straight.

Judge Devaney would wait until Friday to decide: Bob Mercer reports that Secretary of State Shantel Krebs’s contract with the ballot printer requires her to submit candidate names by Friday… even though the statutory deadline for certifying names to the counties is next Tuesday (note to 2019 Legislature: let’s prohibit any contracts that create deadlines that abrogate statutory deadlines; commerce should not trump law, especially on election matters). But if District 30 Republicans are to have a chance to replace the illegitimate Russell renomination with a new nominee, they must submit a name by 5 p.m. this afternoon.


  1. Anne Beal 2018-08-14

    The inability to discern the difference between a primary and a district’s central committtee meeting might explain why the Russell supporters think SDCL 12-6-64, about the will of the voters in a primary election should not be defeated by a technicality, applies to their selection.

    If the plaintiff maintains that the district’s central committee meeting is the “same thing” as the primary, then it would follow that SDCL 12-6-69 applies.

  2. Stace Nelson 2018-08-14

    @CAH It seems you argue the same case as those seeking to overturn the will of the District 30 voters.. The many significant details supporting quashing this are unimportant, only the singular technical detail of the perceived punitive interpretation of the statute is professed to be singlerly important? Felony perjury isn’t relevant? Arguably the circumstances were known to her attorney who apparently drafted the affidavit! Only the singular detail of a non-punitive statute attempting to be used punitively to get rid of a political opponent, when unable to do so through the ballot box, is important to RINO & Democrat alike.

    What about the detail that Jim Sword is a lifelong Democrat who only recently registered “Republican.” There’s a lot more details that are important, but you get the idea.

    Anne fully embracing the Democrats efforts to get rid of a conservative Republican.. Ray Charles could have seen that coming.

  3. bearcreekbat 2018-08-14

    Stace, as for the “will of the voters” – is there any evidence that they still would have voted for Russell if they knew he would withdraw his name from the ballot for another opportunity he deemed more beneficial to him? The “voters” didn’t get asked a second time after the withdrawal of his name whether they still wanted him as a candidate did they? Wasn’t it just an elite committee of Republicans that renominated him after he was defeated for AG?

  4. Rorschach 2018-08-14

    Although Ms. Boche’s claim to have voted in the primary is apparently false, I don’t believe that statement is material for the reasons Cory says. The case should not turn on that statement, and I don’t think there is any grounds for a perjury charge. However, Russell should stay on the ballot because the laws don’t prohibit him from being renominated for that position for reasons we have gone around and around about already.

  5. mike from iowa 2018-08-14

    Bear gets it right. Is the select committee the will of all the people?

  6. Stace Nelson 2018-08-14

    @ALCON The judge ruled, Senator Russell won on the grounds previously pointed out that the statute is not punitive and that he in fact is a new nominee.

    @BCB Russell won election in 2016 with 72% of the vote in the general election in a record turn out year. He won an overwhelming nomination during the primary, AND in the special GOP District Committee election this year. In each of those elections, the voters overehelmingly made their will known. Sword attacked Russell during the primary with dishonest ads claiming Lance was running for three offices. The voters gave him of 60% in a three way race. Their will is a matter of record and something the judge relied
    On and respected in her ruling.

  7. Roger Elgersma 2018-08-14

    sounds like a lawyer trick to get something through that is actually illegal. Just like Jackley saying that the opposing lawyers did their job when he failed to get a conviction on anyone in the GEARUP scandal.

  8. bearcreekbat 2018-08-14

    Stace, those are impressive results, but they seem to beg the question of whether voters would have been so supportive of a candidate who would quit the race before the election to seek another job, rather than do the job he was nominated to do. It was clearly the will of the voters to support Russell when they believed he would honor that support by running and doing the job they wanted him to do. But now all that seems questionable. Would you support a candidate for office if you believed that candidate would just up and quit before the election?

  9. Stace Nelson 2018-08-14

    @BCB republican primary voters were assailed with Sword’ claims that Senator Russell was running for three offices, and they still overwhelmingly nominated him in the June primary and then anew and the special district committee meeting in which both Lederman and his fellow lifelong democrat turn Republican and the special district committee meeting in which both Lederman and his fellow lifelong democrat turn Republican Sword assailed the delegates behind closed doors to not nominate Senator Russell. All the voters will get to weigh in yet again in the November general election. If I was a betting man? I’d get heavily on the baldheaded little bull elephant conservative Republican from Hot Springs.

  10. grudznick 2018-08-14

    What on earth would Mr. Nelson do without Mr. Russell there to whisper in his ear what to do next? All know that Mr. Nelson, against the rules, constantly tweets and texts from the floors of the legislatures, but even if Mr. Russell sat home to puppet Mr. Nelson his tweets would be too late to survive a live debate on the floors.

  11. Kelly 2018-08-14

    Stace Nelson the brilliant lawyer named Jim Sword was the same brilliant lawyer that endorsed fake lawyer Ravnsborg. Birds of a feather flock together.

  12. Jenny 2018-08-14

    Back off, grudz.

  13. Anne Beal 2018-08-15

    Stace is only spouting his own self-interest, as he also, for about five minutes, ran for two offices at once, when he alllowed his name to be put into nomination for LG at the Republican Convention. However, since he did not withdraw from his senate race first, the way Russell did, he didn’t encounter the problem of having to get his name back in, and no Democrat challenge to his candidacy seems to be forthcoming.

    But now we know none of that matters, and politicians will start running for multiple offices at once, maybe even from multiple parties, all at the same time.

  14. bearcreekbat 2018-08-15

    Stace, according to reports in today’s RC Journal it appears the Court agreed with you on the “will of the voters” argument. I thought the Court might rule for Lance without using that argument but I stand corrected.

Comments are closed.