Press "Enter" to skip to content

Attorney General Jackley Offers No Validation of Challenged Petition

In an entirely unsurprising, almost unnewsworthy development, Annette Bosworth lies again. The fake Republican Senate candidate misrepresents Attorney General Marty Jackley's response to the challenge to her nominating petition as confirmation that her petition was "lawfully and completed and submitted."

Read the Attorney General's letter to Secretary of State Jason Gant. AG Jackley says no such thing. The AG says a few other important things, but he makes no evaluation of the petition challenge itself.

Recall the four justifications the petition challenge offered for invalidating the petition:

  1. The petition lacked sufficient valid signatures of registered voters.
  2. Two circulators, Annette Bosworth and Chad Haber, violated the circulator's oath, submitting signatures that they did not witness.
  3. A notary, Joel Arends, validated those false circulators' oaths, violating his own notary oath.
  4. The name atop the petition does not match any registered Republican voter.

AG Jackley does not say one word in refutation or support of those contentions. He entirely avoids those questions, contending his office "has no statutory authority over the administration of elections or the verification of signatures on nominating petitions for public office." He does not say the Secretary of State acted properly. He does not say that a petition circulated by individuals who do not follow petition law is valid. AG Jackley says only that the Secretary's rejection of the challenge and certification of the petition is "reviewable only by a court through a writ of prohibition."

That is no validation. That is an abdication. If laws have been broken, if perjury has been committed, is it really up to citizens to investigate and prosecute those violations?

Note that of the four points raised in the petition challenge, only the challenge to specific signatures has been addressed and formally dismissed by the authorities. On the challenge to the circulators' violated oaths, the Secretary of State has said he has no authority to investigate. The Attorney General has cited legal precedent setting petition challengers a high bar of proving that a circulator's oath was not just false but fraudulent, but the Attorney General does not say the Bosworth and Haber oaths would survive an effort to provide such proof.

And like Secretary Gant, AG Jackley says nothing about the challenges to notary Arends or the non-registered Republican name atop the Republican primary nominating petition.

We thus have four legal questions about the validity of Bosworth's petition, and South Dakota's authorities have answered only one. Whether we will ever get answers to those questions remains to be seen.


  1. Steve Hickey 2014.04.08

    I can't believe no one besides you is willing to challenge these petitions. Count me in if you proceed to get an official ruling from the court. Certainly not my battle to fight but the integrity of the process is in question and it shouldn't be this hard to get an official opinion.

  2. Rorschach 2014.04.08

    Showing that the circulator's oath was not only false but fraudulent is the standard for striking signatures from the petition. It has absolutely nothing to do with whether the circulator committed perjury. That is a separate question. Perjury is a criminal inquiry for which the attorney general is responsible. Jackley has dodged that question entirely through misdirection. He apparently won't take any action against Dr. Bosworth while she is still serving the interests of the man who appointed him - Mike Rounds. It pays to be a Republican who is useful to the Republican establishment. You have absolute immunity from an consequences of wrongdoing. Keep pushing this perjury matter with the attorney general, Cory. Make him answer clearly whether it's his job to investigate crimes, and whether he's doing his job.

  3. mike from iowa 2014.04.08

    The first official duty of the AG is to fight crime. This has gone way beyond verifying signatures to actual criminal activities-possible perjury-which is certainly within the purview of Jackley's office. Put Arends and Bosworth under oath. If she was in the Phillipines as she contends in January,she sure as hell couldn't have been in Sioux Falls,too. That would mean one or both parties were lying. Jackley appears to be uninterested in doing his job. A while back,Jackley as US attorney went after some woman for voter fraud,both state and federal charges.

  4. Rod Hall 2014.04.08

    Sick 'em Cory, show your teeth and bite some a**!

  5. student 2014.04.08

    Arends was in the Phillipines with them as well. Ethan Crisp has stated as much and....its on social media

  6. rick 2014.04.08

    Maybe it's time to unpack that month-long investigation and suicide ruling involving the highly suspicious gunshot death of Richard Benda. The AG has again made it plainly evident he has no intention to do anything that upsets the Rounds Machine.

  7. charlie5150 2014.04.08

    Not sure how we missed being the most corrupt state in the nation last year, but we are certainly are on track to take the title this year. Investigating crime is obviously not part of the agenda in the AG office, and it just trickles down from there.

  8. Bree S. 2014.04.08

    I wonder if Tornow would be interested.

  9. Cari 2014.04.08

    It's really a travesty....all I can do is shake my head. We trust the system and those in charge to work. What happens when it doesn't? How do we hold those accountable who are in charge of holding others accountable? How can we help Cory?

  10. Les 2014.04.08

    ""There are 2 major questions raised by the challenge to Dr. Bosworth’s petitions:

    1. Whether she had sufficient signatures to be on the ballot; and

    2. Whether she committed perjury when she attested under oath that she personally circulated several petition pages to SD voters and witnessed their signatures while she was on a well-publicized mission trip to the Philippines from January 5-15, 2014.

    Question 1 has been decided by Secretary of State Gant, who forwarded question 2 to Attorney General Jackley to conduct a criminal investigation, which is clearly the Attorney General’s job.

    I read the linked letter to Mr. Gant. Mr. Jackley’s entire letter is based on the premise that Mr. Gant submitted issue 1 to him rather than issue 2. The cases the AG cited pertain only to whether Dr. Bosworth should be on the ballot; whether petition defects result in the disqualification of petition signatures. The AG is very obtuse in pretending to misunderstand the issue submitted to him.

    So as to question 2, if Dr. Bosworth was in fact on the Philippines trip as she claims but the petition signers were not, it’s a prima facie case of perjury when she claimed under oath that they signed in her presence. Why won’t the AG investigate a situation that appears at the outset to be a felony?""
    Submitted by Casual Observer over on the Pure Polly Mercer.

  11. mike from iowa 2014.04.08

    iowa's SOS took it upon himself to spend HAVA funds to go after voter fraud in iowa last year. He didn't have proper authority to use HAVA funds for this but he used them anyway.

  12. Steve Kant 2014.04.08

    Let me know if you decide to proceed. I will be happy to provide a donation to the legal fund.

  13. daleb 2014.04.08

    it would be worth it to challange the invalid oaths and other things just to get them on the record. this whole thing has been nuts. annette musthave some friends in very high places

  14. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.04.08

    Les, you share an astute observation. AG Jackley's letter suggests a significant misreading of the SOS's request and mine. Everyone is punting, not wanting to take the ball and drive downfield.

    Cari, the biggest help right now would come from a registered Republican voter who would carry my original SOS affidavit, a few pages of South Dakota law, a filing fee, a request for a writ of prohibition to the Hughes County Courthouse and ask for a court order stopping the printing of ballots with Annette Bosworth's name on them until Secretary Gant answers all issues raised in the petition challenge.

  15. Bill Dithmer 2014.04.08

    It sure looks to me like these two offices, until the legislature changes the law, have built in protections from issues like this where nominating petitions are concerned.

    Those protections dont apply to " referendums, or initiatives, those are covered by rules with consequences.

    I really dont see who Cory would take to count the way the law is now.

    The Blindman

  16. jerry 2014.04.08

    You are correct Tim, this republican bunch would make the mafia blush, what corruption from the top down.

  17. WestRiver 2014.04.10

    When would you need someone to do it Cory?

  18. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.04.10

    WR, to be meaningful, a challenge would have to happen yesterday, and a judge would have to come straight from breakfast to the courtroom. If a judge does not hear the case until after ballots are in citizens' hands (that's next week, April 16), any challenge is too easily dismissed as irremediable.

    But as we see with the disinclination of the top elections officer and the top law enforcement officer to enforce the law and stop obvious violations, it's tough to get the gears of the state to move quickly.

  19. Steve 2014.04.20

    Amazing commentary. Surely if you devote an entire website to damning a person you have more to share than a hunch someone was out of country when a petition was signed. Let me get this strait, she may have gotten someone to sign but she wasn't there. But we're not sure and no one will do what you Really want. Stop a persons chance to run for office. So much so you have devoted your life to it. Now that might be the real story here. Why do you hate this person so much?

  20. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.04.20

    Steve, it's not a hunch. We know for sure. Bosworth herself said she went to the Philippines. Chad Haber went with her. Joel Arends publicized her trip to the Philippines. She got people to sign. She was not there. She violated her circulator's oath. That's perjury.

    Annette's blog posts:

    Chad's Tweets:

    Joel Arends pre-press:

    My reasons are not the real story here, Steve. Nice try. And to reiterate, this is not simply about stopping someone's chance to run for office. It is about stopping Annette Bosworth from exploiting the electoral process as a cynical money-making scheme.

Comments are closed.