The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Umm...sure that's the right date, your honor.

So, the petitioners are 221 signatures shy
of what it takes to refer the smoking ban.

Problem seems to be with some of the notaries using
the wrong expiration date on their ID's.

Just curious, does anybody know the answer to this question:
Did one notary make the same mistake 2,000 times? Or did
2,000 notaries all make the same mistake once?

Or somewhere in between?

Anyway, kind of ironic, isn't it? You hear of people trying
to buy tobacco and other "you-gotta-be-old-enough" stuff
in some of the places in question having the wrong date
on their ID's and everybody involved can get in a heap
of trouble for it.

Darn calendars, anyway.

Excerpts from AP/RCJ article:
"Larry Mann, who represents the petitioners, said Friday that 2,035 of the signatures were valid but were on petitions signed by a notary public who put down a wrong expiration date for his or her seal.

That technicality warrants a legal challenge because it easily puts the effort over the 221 signatures needed to have all South Dakota residents weigh in on it, he said.

"If they did everything else correctly and simply failed to put down an accurate date of their expiration, I think that is what the law defined as a mere technicality," Mann said.

"When an honest clerical error is made, should we disenfranchise not only 2,000 petition signers but 400,000-plus voters over this kind of a technicality?"

Nelson affirmed Friday that 2,035 of the signatures rejected had no other issue with them, but state law requires all petitions to be properly notarized."


"Jennifer Stalley of the tobacco-free kids group said supporters of the ban merely exercised their right to challenge the effort in hopes of sparing people the negative health effects of secondhand smoke.

"Some would say it's a technicality. But at the end of the day there are rules by which we have to play with in this process. And one of the rules is that the documents need to be properly notarized," she said.

"We're doing it because it's impacting the health of South Dakotans."


Hmmm... now why am I suddenly thinking about "hanging chads?"


Donna said...

How did they manage to get 9900 invalid signatures ????

I'm betting this is not over. Deadwood was apparently hit on July 1 by a lack of business. Apparently some people didn't know that the ban did not take effect.
There is still enough opposition that it may still be repealed.

Bill Fleming said...

An ironic twist here is that it seems now the petitioners are going to have to take the State to court, right?

Doesn’t that mean that you and I now have to start picking up the legal tab on both sides?

Consider this:

A lot of the people petitioning are video lottery casino owners. Video Lottery generates revenue for the State, right?*

So how much should we the people of South Dakota budget to defend ourselves against our own de facto “special tax collectors?*”

Better get out there and play those machines, people. You’re gonna need the money.
*A friend of mine defines state lotteries as a special tax on the mathematically impaired.

Bob Newland said...

I think there's a fair chance that a judge will rule that the notary problem is not a fatal error to the petition drive to refer the vote. If the notary in question has a valid current commission, and just made a mistake as to the date on which his/her commission expires, that would appear to me to be stupid, but should probably not be fatal.

Bill Fleming said...

Bob, is it ok to ask you this question: when you went through this drill, how many notaries were on your team? If not ok, just ignore me.

Bob Newland said...

On our team, eh? Well, I was a notary since 1999, until I was convicted of a felony (which makes me notorious, but ineligible to be a notary forever). A friend was also a notary. The two of us got tons of signatures, and we notarized each other's petition sheets, as well as those of quite a few of the circulators.

I'd say that was the total of the notaries "on our team." People mostly went to county auditors for notarization in those days. Now, auditors charge to notarize petitions except nominating petitions.

That's just one more small step the legislature has taken to make it more difficult for citizens to place an issue on the ballot.

Les said...

Our wonderful legislator's will next attempt to make a certain number come from each county if we let them Bob.