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Successful Walker Challenge: Affidavit Cites Misregistered, Unregistered, Fictitious Voters

Last updated on 2014.05.29

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?


  1. Jessie 2014.05.20

    Perpich says "dismal". I agree completely. What a farce.

  2. Dave 2014.05.20

    Why does Mary Perpich have to do Gant's job for him? Why are we taxpayers having to do all of Gant's heavy lifting??

  3. Steve Hickey 2014.05.20

    That there are people who seem to have no conscience and cheat their way through life never ceases to amaze me. This number of fake signatures is intolerable. Maybe we need to up the penalty on petition fraud. It is a class 6 felony right now? I can check later. He should be barred from running for anything for ten years.

    I agree the independant signature requirement is a number that is too high. Still, this guy disqualifies himself. Certainly this isn't the first time he's cheated on something.

  4. grudznick 2014.05.20

    Mr. Hickey, I would have enjoyed it if you had barged into the Argus cloakroom when Mr. Nelson was lying away and expunged him from any real media presence.

  5. Rick 2014.05.20

    Dave, as a former student of Ms. Perpich, I can tell you why - with confidence - she 'has to do Gant's job for him': She is very smart, meticulous and leaves no stone unturned.

  6. Jessie 2014.05.20

    Perhaps Mary and Cory should get some of Gant's paycheck then?

  7. caheidelberger 2014.05.20

    Grudz, I didn't hear Nelson tell any lies this afternoon on 100 Eyes. Mr. Nelson also apparently didn't fake signatures or commit perjury on his petition.

  8. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.05.20

    Lying, grudz, lying? Did you watch? If so what did he lie about? You are the one who is lying, just like your boy, Mikey.

  9. grudznick 2014.05.20

    Mr. Stricherz, you know I didn't watch it and that I am not lying. I said "Mr. Hickey, I would have enjoyed it if you had barged into the Argus cloakroom when Mr. Nelson was lying away and expunged him from any real media presence."

    I was not lying then and I stand by my statement. I would have enjoyed it. Immensely.

    Plus, you know I'm one of the original Rhoden Rhangers.

  10. Jenny 2014.05.20

    You just like to stir things up, Grudz. I don't agree with Nelson on most issues, but I do believe he's an honest, decent man. So knock it off.

  11. grudznick 2014.05.20

    Jenny, I do appreciate your advice as it does amuse me. You may continue providing it.

  12. Roger Cornelius 2014.05.20

    So now, Jason Gant has taken away the rights of Independent voters to make a choice. In earlier statements he said that he and the U.S. Attorney could not and would not investigate and prosecute Bosworth because it might sway the election.

  13. grudznick 2014.05.20

    Mr. Cornelius, if I'm not mistaken Republicans and Democrats alike could have voted for this Mr. Walker fellow if they wanted too. So if the Independent voters have lost a choice so has everybody else, right?

    This fellow seemed more oozingly salamandery than Mr. Gant. I think it is a small loss. At least for me it is. I hope you will look long at Mr. Myers and consider him. He is a man's man's man.

  14. Roger Cornelius 2014.05.20

    Walker being out of the race is no loss at all.

    The point being that Gant has taken two completely different positions, one for Republican Bosworth, and one for Independent Walker.

  15. grudznick 2014.05.20

    I see, Mr. C. You have a point there indeed.

  16. Nick Nemec 2014.05.20

    Mr. Cornelius asks a good question, why is Walker removed from the ballot but removing Annette Bosworth might sway the election?

  17. caheidelberger 2014.05.20

    Roger, we should look closely at Gant's Bosworth and Walker decisions. In a way, he is consistent: he reviewed similar claims of ineligible voters on both petitions. He did not find enough ineligible voters on Bosworth's to invalidate; he did find enough (more than enough, stunningly more!) to invalidate Walker's.

    The difference is that while Gant apparently responded to all grounds for invalidation given in the Walker challenge, he did not respond to all grounds for invalidation in the Bosworth challenge (and still hasn't, despite my request for clarification and follow-up).

  18. Roger Cornelius 2014.05.20

    It is true that Gant has been consistent with his rulings.

    However, on the surface it appears to be inconsistent.

  19. Nick Nemec 2014.05.20

    But then the GOP powers that be can't kick Bosworth off the ballot she is an integral part of the Rounds Heat Shield, her job is to appeal to the anti-Rounds voters, siphon off 5%-10% of the total vote to help insure Stace Nelson can't knock off the nine million dollar man.
    Rounds remembers his improbable 2012 primary win in a three way race and is trying to replicate the tactic.

  20. Jeff Barth 2014.05.21

    The SOS should post all the petitions he collects online so that citizens can examine them. The fact that copies need to be purchased so that citizens can do the SOS's work is absurd.

    The Minnehaha County Republicans worked to discover fault with Gordon Howie's petitions. I'm sure they paid for copies and maybe for FAX service. Some folks said that Democrats were solicited and some may have signed for Weiland and for Howie. The only way to check would be to buy copies of the Weiland petitions and check.

    Post them online with free access to all. When elected I hope Secretary of State Mary Perpich will make that happen.

  21. Cory i love this project! 2014.05.21

    Why was this challenge allowed on May 8, 2 days after the deadline to challenge--As we learned with Bosworth and Howie , you only get 5 business days...

  22. caheidelberger 2014.05.21

    I have some question about the timeline as well. SDCL 12-1-13 says any interested party may file a petition challenge within five business days after a petition is filed. However, during the Bosworth challenge, the SOS's office advised me that they give challengers five days from the date that the petition is certified... which seems fair, since challengers don't know there's a petition to file until the SOS has certified it.

  23. Nick Nemec 2014.05.21

    Jeff Barth makes a good point, there is no reason to have to pay for petitions, they should be posted online where anyone who wants to see them can see them.

    I second the nomination of Mary Perpich for the office of Secretary of State.

  24. Jenny 2014.05.21

    Nick, do you know Grudz? What is his real name?

  25. PlanningStudent 2014.05.21

    There is a state statute that says exactly how much it costs to have copies of materials filed at the SOS office. If you want the petitions available online you will have to change state law not just lob your criticisms at the SOS as if he hasn't thought about it already. When the public files challenges to petitions your are NOT doing the SOS job for him. That is exactly why the law has the challenge provisions spelled out. The SOS checks petitions for completeness: is there proper heading, is there a signature by the circulator and is there a notary stamp, thats it.

  26. Rorschach 2014.05.21

    It's embarrassing that the Secretary of State's Office certified petitions that were 1,400 valid signatures short of the minimum required. It is ridiculous that a member of the public has to point this out.

    I don't know who is doing Secretary of State Gant's job these days. I have heard he sold his house in Pierre and moved back to Sioux Falls. Is he even on the job anymore?

  27. Jenny 2014.05.21

    Come on Planning Student, someone in the SOS office on their measly SD wage could be looking through those signatures and finding fake addresses and funny names. It wouldn't take that long. This should be totally unacceptable to SD voters.

  28. Jenny 2014.05.21

    Someone with seven misdemeanors would want to make me look right away.

  29. Jenny 2014.05.21

    would make me look right away (I meant).

  30. Nick Nemec 2014.05.21

    Jenny, I have never, to my knowledge, met Mr. Grudznick. But, I would like to know who he is and have some gravy and breakfast taters with him sometime, I'll pick up the check and tip the waitress at least 20%.

  31. Nick Nemec 2014.05.21

    PlanningStudent, while state law calls for a charge for hard copies of petitions and other documents does it also prevent the online posting of those same documents?

    This seems like a law that needs to be changed in the interest of government openness and moving into the 21st Century.

  32. Roger Cornelius 2014.05.21

    Bob Newland over at Decorum Forum knows grudz.

  33. Roger Cornelius 2014.05.21

    What's this I hear about Clayton Walker suing Gant over the petitions?

Comments are closed.