You could see here first on May 8 that a challenge had been filed to the petitions submitted by Independent U.S. Senate candidate Clayton Walker.
You could see here first this afternoon that the challenge was successful.
Now, you can read here (also first) the specifics of the affidavit that led Secretary of State Jason Gant to invalidate 1,613 of Walker's signatures, leaving the Black Hawk man and would-be Senate race spoiler with only 1,760 or so valid signatures, not even close to the 3,171 necessary to make November's General Election ballot as an Independent.
The Madville Times obtained a copy late this afternoon of Mary Perpich's written affidavit in response to the more than 3,400 signatures Walker submitted in support of his candidacy. As one would expect of the retired journalism professor, Perpich (after laying out the basic legalese describing the situation) gets right to the facts:
As a resident of Brookings County, I [Mary Perpich] would like to formally dispute 1833 of Mr. Walker’s signatures under the following grounds: (1) Unregistered voter at the time of signing the petition, (2) the petitions signer was registered in a different county than what was listed on the petitions, (3) the petition signer gave an address that did not match the address of their voter registration, and (4) the information contained on the signatures line is of such poor quality that it is impossible to verify registration status or any other pertinent information surrounding that individual. All four of these charges are grounds for dismal of the individual signature [Mary Perpich, affidavit, 2014.05.08].
The affidavit goes on to cite the process used to determine whether a signature might be invalid under each of the four categories and breaks down the number of signatures Perpich claims are invalid:
- 1,230 signatures not connected to any registered South Dakota voter
- 298 signatures matching a registered voter in a county other than the one listed
- 289 signatures matching a registered voter who does not live at the given address
- 16 signature lines where neither the name nor the address was legible
Gant doesn't give an itemized response in his twitter announcement, but he does tell David Montgomery that a line-by-line review found 1,613 invalid signatures among the 1,833 disputed lines. For those keeping track, that means Gant agreed with Perpich on 88% of the signature lines she identified in the affidavit.
By comparison, Walker's validity rate on the 3,377 signatures Perpich counts (Montgomery says 3,374) that initially placed him on the ballot is a paltry 52%.
And that's without even mentioning the "odd nature of Mr. Walker's petitions" Perpich cites in the affidavit's closing paragraph:
I would also like to note that several of the sheets (pages 173, 174, 335, 336, 165, 166, 179, 180, 181, 182) appear to show Mr. Walker collecting petition signatures, in person, several hundred miles apart. In addition, there are multiple pages that have uniform handwriting and appear to be filled out by the same person. There are also multiple examples of possibly fictitious or celebrity names. Some examples of which are: Dusty Cover, Jeff Bridges, Ryan Reynolds, Bambi Lake, Cherry Drop, and Black Notes [Mary Perpich, affidavit, 2014.05.08].
This affidavit is also completely separate from Attorney General Marty Jackley's review of "potential criminal violations" related to Walker's nominating petitions (and those of now-only-slightly-less-fake-than-Walker Republican U.S. Senate candidate Annette Bosworth). Jackley initially indicated that any additional information about potential investigations of candidates would come after the November election, to avoid interference with voters' choices.
If Walker is no longer one of those choices, might Jackley now pursue his investigation?
Or is it just time for Clayton Walker to gather with supporters like Dusty Cover and Cherry Drop to rue his misfortune and make plans for the next election cycle?