Secretary of State Jason Gant announced today that the challenge to fake Republican U.S. Senate candidate Annette Bosworth's nominating petition did not result in the discovery of enough invalid signatures to disquality Bosworth from the primary ballot.
Secretary Gant sent me the following letter explaining his decision at 12:28 CDT this morning:
Dear Mr. Heidelberger:
On April 1, 2014, an affidavit was filed with this office pursuant to SDCL § 12-1-13 challenging certain signatures on Annette Bosworth's Nominating Petition.
The candidate submitted 3,648 signature lines. Of that number, 795 were blank, 275 were registered to vote but not registered Republicans, 125 were not registered and 148 were not valid due to other reasons such as duplicates, invalid date of signing, invalid notary, etc.
State law requires 1,955 valid signatures for a Republican candidate for United Stats Senate. After reviewing the signature lines, we have determined there are 2,305 valid signature lines.
Another issue in the affidavit cited that the circulator was not present at the time of collecting signatures. The Secretary of State does not have the statutory authority to investigate the claims that you list in the affidavit. I have forwarded the affidavit and relevant petition sheets to the Attorney General's office for their review.
This letter is formal notification to you that the challenge to the petition of Annette Bosworth was not successful and her name will continue to appear on the 2014 Primary Ballot as a candidate for United States Senate.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact this office.
Jason M. Gant, Secretary of State [letter, 2014.04.05]
What, me, hesitate with questions?
At 21:30 CDT, I transmitted the following e-mail to Secretary Gant and cc'ed election office Brandon Johnson, with whom I conducted most of my communication while acquiring Bosworth's petition and preparing my challenge:
Dear Secretary Gant:
Thank you for your reply to my affidavit. In the interest of providing clear information to future petitioneers and petition challengers, as well as citizens seeking a clear understanding of your office's enforcement of election law, I make the following requests:
- Please clarify your count of 3,648 signature lines. This number does not match my counts. Your office provided my 277 petition sheets, would include 4,450 total lines, but by my count, those sheets included only 2,868 signature lines with information entered on them (including scratch-outs). Did I receive all petition sheets?
- Please provide responses to the specific challenges laid out in my affidavit of April 1, 2014, Items 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13.
- If possible, please provide an itemized list of individual signatures rejected and the reasons for rejection. If you have such a list that aligns with the coding (by page and line #) that I used in the spreadsheets I submitted with my affidavit, I would be very grateful.
- Along with itemizing rejected signatures, please itemize any rejected sheets and the reasons for their rejection.
- As far as I can tell, your response letter offers no response to Item 18, the challenge to eligibility for the office sought of the individual named at the top of the petition. While Items 3, 4, and 5 may lie outside the authority of your office to investigate and require action by the Attorney General, Item 18 offers a very specific question about petition requirements, which is within your purview to determine. Please respond to Item 18: can a nominating petition be valid when the name of the candidate does not appear in the voter registration database?
I thank you for your attention this challenge. I especially thank you for acting on Item 20.4 and forwarding the evidence of fraudulent petition activity to the Attorney General. If I can be of any assistance in further investigation of this petition, please contact me.
Cory Allen Heidelberger [letter to Secretary of State Jason M. Gant, 2014.04.05]
Peter Harriman of that Sioux Falls paper reports that Attorney General Marty Jackley is spending his weekend contacting Secretary Gant, his litigation team, the DCI, the Bosworth campaign, and me. AG Jackley, I eagerly await your call.