Burt Elliott is in trouble. The Brown County Democrat wants to return to the Legislature to serve District 3. Unfortunately, he lives in District 2. Elliott said at a Brown County forum on September 27 that while he has a house in District 2, he has rented an apartment in District 3. Elliott says he made the move for "family issues," but pretty much admits that he has cited this apartment address as his voting residence to get around the fact that Republicans gerrymandered his house address out of District 3, which he served from 2001 through 2008.
Soon-to-be District 5 Representative Lee Schoenbeck is already swinging his leadership bat. The likely Republican House leader has reached across district lines to warn Aberdeen voters that if they elect Democrat Burt Elliot as District 3 representative, he will work to refuse Elliott a seat:
Schoenbeck said that, if Elliott is elected, he could run into trouble with a clause of the state Constitution that reads, “Each house (of the Legislature) shall be the judge of the election returns and qualifications of its own members.”
He said the House might rule that Elliott doesn’t actually live in District 3 [Scott Waltman, "Republicans Question Elliott's Residency," Aberdeen American News, 2014.09.28].
We don't see a lot of candidates from one district telling folks in other districts whom to elect. And to threaten to disenfranchise another district's majority takes grit.
But Schoenbeck can back his grit with law. Back in 2006, my Madison neighbor Jeff Heinemeyer sold his house in Madison and moved out to Lake Madison. Yet he fought to keep the Madison seat he'd won on the Heartland Consumer Power District board by renting an apartment downtown and declaring that flat his voting residence. In November 2008, the South Dakota Supreme Court kicked him off the board, saying renting an apartment while maintaining a house as one's practical primary residence does not satisfy the statutory criteria for voting residence.
Schoenbeck also has the state constitution on his side. Article 9 Section 3 makes each chamber of the Legislature "the judge of the election returns and qualifications of its own members." Schoenbeck and a Republican majority can overturn the popular will of District 3, refuse to seat Elliott, and submit the resulting vacancy to the Governor for filling.
Heinemeyer v. Heartland gives Schoenbeck authority to invoke the Legislature's power to reject an elected representative. Schoenbeck further contends that Elliott may have committed perjury when he signed his voter registration application, which includes the statement, "I actually live at and have no present intention of leaving the above address."
I wonder if Schoenbeck will also declare perjurious South Dakota's numerous RV voters. The Lake County Auditor's office informs me that about 1,700 people have sworn to that same statement of residency 110 East Center in Madison, the physical address of MyDakotaAddress.com. As is the case at similar businesses in Hanson, Minnehaha, and Pennington counties, RVers can rent a mailbox at 110 East Center, register to vote in Lake County, and enjoy the legal benefits of voting residency. They don't "actually live" at 110 East Center, and "actually live" figures prominently in Heinemeyer v. Heartland.
Are the thousands of RVers making South Dakota their paper home all guilty of perjury? I know that Republicans have much more interest in thwarting a Democrat's campaign for Legislature than in disenfranchising thousands of wealthy retirees who enjoy dodging taxes. But the same logic and law that compel Schoenbeck to stand against Elliott's manipulation of his voting residence would seem to apply to the RVers who spend less time in their chosen voting residence than Heinemyer or Elliott.
CAH does any of the RV people hold public office or are running for office?
Strict enforcement of this provision is necessary to maintain the power of gerrymandering.
Doug, Robin Page, who you support has this gerrymander problem big-time in district 33, North Rapid City. Boxelder business America's Mailbox sells votes to the repubs, I have heard 3000 per election, for those RVers who spend one night there just to declare residence and vote!!
While the county has the power to declare a separate absentee ballot precinct that might allay such twisted results, the better solution may be a simple phone call to the Department of Justice, Voting Right Division, to initiate an investigation.
Who knows if the retired Chicago cop knew Janklow but repubs like his business model
As you know on the Bosworth matter, you and I agreed that qualification for the ballot and its laws should be strictly and literally interpreted vs the permissive interpretation. Your seeming toleration of the Elliott matter appears you have a selective application going on or are hesitant to be bold when it affects Democrats.
Larry Pressler still uses DC as his address on the boards he serves with Harv Jewett and Kevin Schieffer.
So these 1,700 mailboxes at Center Street - do they count in Madison's census numbers, like population?
I have met many full time RVers in RV parks with SD license plates. The only reason any I have talked to ever come to SD is to get their drivers license.
Reminds me of the time Tom Dempster ran for office in district 9 while living in district 15. His wife never changed her registration from district 15 that election. The townhouse Dempster claimed as his district 9 residence was being built, and didn't even have sheet rock when he signed his candidate declaration. Once it was built he never lived there. When the press asked him about his residence he said when he was on the county commission he represented the whole county including district 9. Maybe Elliott should use that line. It kept Schoenbeck and Troy quiet when Dempster used it. Then there was Mike Jaspers who moved to Sioux Falls and publicly shopped for a district to run in ... Republicans hold Democrats to a different standard than they hold their own.
Does Isaac Latterell actually live in District 6 or in Don Haggar's district 10 basement with Jenna?
Something really should be done about the RVers, they are abusing the system, have never lived at their voting address and have no intention to live there.
Chris Francis, the Census counts where you actually live, so I'm willing to bet no on the 1700 being counted in Madison's numbers.
I have a friend out here who has actually had conversations with little clusters of RV'ers in the Black Hills who live in other states but vote here, and they are pretty open and proud of the way they've been able to influence our elections. It's not exactly a secret.
Is there any formal system of interstate cross-referencing of voter databases and actual votes cast that prevents a political RV road-warrior from voting absentee in any number of different states?
All Schoenbeck needs to do is refer to the Rodney Gutzler case of 1977. The Supreme Court sat on its hands and let the House seat a person who had not resided in the district 2 years before election. The Court could have said that the House has final say, providing the candidate meets all constitutional requirements. The Supreme Court said nothing to that effect! Schoenbeck, if he can get enough repubs to follow, they can "elect" anyone they want. They do not have to seat just anyone the Gov. might appoint either!
It does sound kind of like an argument a legislator of the ruling party would use to enforce a somewhat dubious gerrymander. I suppose dictricts redrawn by Dems in other states probably do the same thing. That's why I'm not especially fond of the practice. I think it's abusive to the voters and democracy in general.
Does Isaac Latterell actually live in a PO Box in district 6?
Burt has publicly claimed to have always lived in District 3. That is wrong. He was a legislator in dist 2 for 8 years. He was never "gerrymandered" out of 2. He was, and always has been there.
Burt has dug himself a hole, and is going to have a hard time getting out of this one.
DR, just following up on his claim: "...to get around the fact that Republicans gerrymandered his house address out of District 3, which he served from 2001 through 2008."
Is that not the case?
RF'ers present a conundrum because it could be argued that they do not have a residence, thereby entirely disenfranchising them. I doubt that is a result that we would want, but I am not sure how to stop abuses.
In the case of the two candidates here, there is far less reason to accept their fictitious residences, as it is clear that they have a clear residence and it is a settled principle that a person can have only one residence. I am also far more willing to take restrictive stance when it comes to those seeking office as opposed to those who vote.
RV'ers. Fumble fingers.
Bill, that statement is incorrect. He served in district 2 from 2001-2008
His wife Elaine served in the same spot from 2008-2012.
Elliot was technically a legislator for District 3, then District 2. In 2000 he was elected into District 3 House. Then in 2002 (the first election after that redistricting) he won election in District 2. He served in the District 2 House until he was term-limited in 2008; then he went on to run for Brown County Commissioner.
In 2008 his wife Elaine ran for District 2 House, and she served two terms from 2009-2012. She chose not to seek re-election in 2012, which would have been in the newly redistricted District 2.
Just a cople notes on your article.
First, I'm not seeking the leader's position, it's the assistant leaders position, and only taxes and death are certain. I wouldn't assume anything about that leadership race.
Second, seating Bert from a district he doesn't live in, is not about anybody's political strength or resolve. EVERY legislator takes an oath to uphold the constitution, and Bert's problem is with the Constitution, the statute on candidacy and the Supreme Court decision from your buddy's case in Madison. Bert would have to believe he is above the law to run, and if he won, to think he wold get to serve. He would have to assume that all of the Democrats and all of the Republicans are going to ignore their oath??? Bert doesn't live where he is running and he committed perjury when he signed his petition.
As Mr Hall sort of noted, in the Gutzler case the Court said it was up the legislature - and the legislature only - to enforce this constitutional provision.
Hopefully he looses and doesn't create a vacant seat for Aberdeen. Disenfranchising voters - which he did when he filed to run where he and his wife don't live - is wrong. But, I can't imagine that he thinks 104 legislators that are properly elected will ignore their sworn duty.
Thanks for dropping in, Lee! "Assistant Leader"? Aw, come on, we all know that means the Majority Leader will be the front man while you play Rasputin in the background. [insert sinister laugh]
Troy, I apologize if I came across as overly sympathetic. I agree with Lee's read of the state constitution, state law, and Heinemeyer v. Heartland. And yes, given my own history of prosecuting petition violations, I cannot in good conscience dismiss Schoenbeck's effort to uphold the law and his oath.
However, any caution that creeps into my voice arises from something other than partisan sympathy. I have received legal advice to the contrary. When I was teaching in Spearfish, I maintained my household at Lake Herman while renting a place for most of the year in Spearfish. During that time (2011 to 2013, post-Heinemeyer), I held my seat as a trustee on the Lake Herman Sanitary District Board. Statute says that "each trustee must reside in the district." Concerned about residency and legitimacy, I asked the district's counsel, Jerry Lammers, about my status. He advised that, under state law, residency simply meant having a place to hang one's hat, and I could remain a trustee.
Now that was just one lawyer's advice, not a court ruling. Had any of my neighbors gotten cranky, they might well have taken me to court, read Heinemeyer to the judge, and gotten me booted. Is there a difference between my situation with the Lake Herman board and Elliott's situation with District 3?
Furthermore, Schoenbeck's argument that Elliott may have committed perjury when he registered to vote raises a troubling question about all those RVers. Like Brother Beaker, I recognize that we shouldn't disenfranchise RVers just because their primary domicile is on wheels. (Even a homeless man should be able to vote.) If Elliott is lying, then RVers are lying even more when they say that they "actually live" at 110 East Center, Madison, SD 57042.
So Lee, in your perjury language, can you hang Elliott without hanging RVers?
Take a look here Cory, even with the Clerk of Courts he is using his District 2 address.
Burton Bruce Elliott, 66, of 13687 387th Ave., speeding, fined $105
Cory, I think the difference between the RVers is that Burt Elliot changed his registration the day he took out his petition. RVers aren't changing their registration and they aren't running for office.
Mr Schoenbeck; PLEASE do not try to lecture this blog on responsibilities of legislators---we know them quite well, thank you and wish that the very same emphasis could be placed by you and your favored party upon senate candidates like Rounds that your party leaders in GOAC simply will not pressure along with Bollen who sits under palm trees in the Philippines holding so much information that SD voters and taxpayers should be cogitating on re: EB5 et. all!!! Were you and others in your party doing your jobs with us in mind we wouldn't have such a rating on the list of most corrupt states in the US, now would we. You've gotten along way too long preaching values while screwing the little underpaid workers in SD!!
AND finally, Where you live is where your main underwear/sock drawer is. I ask Mr Elliott where is underwear/sock drawer is.
Also, Mr. S, don't mention to many of us about being ' above the law, eh??!! A man of your stature in the GOP should be crying for justice to be done for the voters of this fine state that want to believe that government can and should be run by laws equal to all!! So many questions about your US Senate candidate and whether or not the AG of SD is doing his job or not along with this GO
AC committee finagling to stall for the election......
Hang on, DR. The RVers do change their registration. They aren't all Madison residents. They come from all over.
Both Schoenbeck and the Supreme Court seem to call into question not just the qualification for office but the validity of the claim of voting residence at a place where a person does not primarily live. When I went to Spearfish, my sock drawer was in Spearfish for 9–10 months out of the year. (We could say something similar of college students, who spend much of the year on campus but can maintain their voting registration at their hometown residence, right?) RVers keep their vital undies in a drawer that travels the country most of the year.
While I see a distinction between a voter and an elected official, and while we subject candidates to a higher level of scrutiny than voters, where in South Dakota law do we find grounds for saying, "You can vote here, but you can't run for office here"?
(By the way, I'd like to go where Jaka's going. The call to duty should ring even louder on EB-5/GOAC issues... but I don't want to start a bar fight on this thread. I want to get to the bottom of the legal question of whether hanging Elliott means hanging RVers.)
Lee, how are you my friend? Long time no see. Will you please answer a couple of questions for me?
1. Have the boundary lines around District 2 and District been changed in such a way as to also change where Mr. Elliot's home is located? i.e. does he still have access to the same voter base that has elected him previously?
2. Do you agree with me that gerrymandering districts is a practice that tends to inhibit voter choice and democracy, especially in residential neighborhoods where people don't move around much in the course of their lifetimes?
Thanks in advance.
I look forward to your answer. BF
One more, Lee:
3. If Betty Olson's brain is still a resident of the early 19th Century, would she still be qualified to run in District 28 in 2014?
Have you noticed that unlike your co-conspirator, Pat Powers at the Dump Site, Cory doesn't delete you when you go off topic?
In Oregon,homeless people are allowed to vote.
As you mentioned Cory there is a RV business in Hanson County like Madison.
There effect hit home not long ago when our county tried to pass a wheel tax to help fix bridges, roads, etc... in our county. As you might guess these greedy bastards voted against it and they're never here to drive over the deteriorated infrastructure.
I don't have a lot of love for these people. I live where I do so I can participate IN the community. These people take all the benefits and give nothing back.
Domicile is numero uno. Pick your home state carefully.
Why isn't Lee fired up about Isaac Latterell living in a PO box in District 6? Is it OK for Republicans but not for Democrats?
Rohr, have we documents on Isaac Latterell's address... and on any other address than his P.O. Box? Where does the District 6 Rep. actually live?
What's ALEC's address...check there for Isaac's address.
Richard Schreiver in District 6 also lists a P.O. Box. So do candidates Chuck Welke, Jay Vanduch, Angie Buhl O'Donnell, Arthur Rusch, Troy Heinert, Jim Bradford, Lana Greenfield, Carrie Ackerman-Rice, Justin Cronin, Shawn Bordeaux, Anna Takes the Shield, Kevin Killer, and Dean Schrempp, according to the SOS candidates list.
I don't give RVers much thought except to the degree, nomads should pick one place to vote and vote. It is the American way.
But, with petitions for people or issues to be on the ballot, I have a higher standard.
Lots of PO boxes. I bet Schoenbeck is all over that and will soon embark on a mission to ferret out the law breakers in his party...or not.
Troy, if those RVers were migrant workers who could vote in SD...would you care?
Lee, still waiting on Cory's question...or are you conferring with Betty Olson?
"So Lee, in your perjury language, can you hang Elliott without hanging RVers?"
I intentionally used the word nomads. I say what I mean and mean what I say. Clearly, I intended all US citizens whether they be homeless, migrant workers, or rvers.
Troy lumps the RVers, homeless and migrant workers into one class. Thinks all should have the right to vote and equal representation...just not so much.
Deliberately leaves out nomadic legislators who use PO boxes instead of physical addresses.
You just couldn't have your bigotry not be affirmed that you had to make the last statement. The law is clear- you must have your primary residence in your district. It amazes me an aspiring legislator would appear to be so cavalier about the very law he swore he was following. Same for Bosworth.
But your selective enforcement of the law is noted.
Troy has "higher standards", I'm shocked he has any standards at all!
Yes Troy. And among the three groups you identified as "nomads" which ones would have an easier path to vote with the GOP's preferred voter id laws?
"Residence" is either never defined or means different things in different laws. We ran into a wall of crap when we wanted to wire and plumb our own house in Rapid City. The planners there wanted to use the term "Primary residence" which is only supposed to relate to a property tax reduction.
Gerrymandering is a cynical destruction of democracy no matter who or which party does it. One house based on single-member districts and another based on percentage a slate gets over the whole state would improve representation and reduce the benefit of gerrymandering.
Ms. Jana, I want you to understand that I, for one, do not advocate this, but I know a fellow who does. He would say "If every RVer brought a migrant worker in when they came and took a homeless person out when they left, then we'd really have somethin' wouldn't we." This fellow eats breakfast at Talleys Silver Spoon every weekend. I'm just sayin...
Bill, sorry I didn't address your question sooner. I don't think we have an interstate voter registration system yet. But when I stopped in to the Lake County Auditor's office last week, the ladies couldn't say enough nice things about the new computerized system they have for the state database. Now, they tell me, when someone comes in to register, they can look up the name, find any matching record from a previous county of residence, carry over the data, and delete the old county registration, eliminating cross-county duplicates.
OldGuy, as far as I know, no RVer has filed a nominating petition. I assume Schoenbeck would reject such a candidate. I would be uneasy as well. But from how much of our local political life should we exclude the RVers whose auto licensing fees we so welcome?
Cory - the SOS's address list is simply for mailing purposes. To find out where residency is - you need to look at the actual voter registration information, that is NOT as publicly available.
However, there is still a question as to whether or not the physical address of Mr. Latterell's voter's registration is where he actually "resides" (store his groceries, does his laundry, has clothes in the closet, etc.) or not. I have had several people relate to me that through conversations with Mr. Latterell, he himself has stated that he does NOT actually live there. Hearsay, of course, is not evidence. I suppose one could stake the place out and see how often he might come and go........ if one wanted to make that effort.
As Burt Elliott is my brother-in-law, I am of course biased towards him. He's not the first and won't be the last to live in an apartment in the District he's running in. Rep. Al Novstrup, Dist. 3 Representative, lives approximately 6 months of the year in Sioux Falls. I'd ask Lee Schoenbeck if Novstrup shouldn't be taken out of his seat because of this issue? What's good for the goose is good for the gander.
FWIW - the precinct in which Mr. Latterell is registered is the one on which he received the LOWSET % of votes. Interesting isn't it - if he does actually live there - his neighbors don't seem to care for him so much as those who live further away.
Lee, when you get into office, I think you should do a complete investigation of residency fraud and let the chips fall where they may. Unless of course Issac and Jenna take you our for dinner and drinks.
So, the 1700 center street mailbox names, they aren't all RVers, right? They register here for tax purposes as well, since we lack a state income tax, makes retirement a little richer, right? If they don't count for our census numbers, where do they count? Can you list Madison for your address when it comes to collecting your retirement and investments, avoiding taxes, yet still maintain a separate address for the census, yet vote in either of these places? Seems to me rather strange the whole deal. - and theres doors in sioux falls with no one there, corporations from all parts with just an address, nothing more.
Cory makes a good point about residency requirements. If you are qualified to vote, you are eligible to run for office, Troy Jones' hypocrisy aide. ( I don't know Troy but he seems inordinately impressed by his own opinion.) I live in a precinct in Sioux Falls wilh 1100 RV voters, all registered at an RV park with 40 parking spots. I have checked into it and been told as long as they declare they have the intention of eventually living at the address they declare as their residence they are eligible to vote in South Dakota.
And, I have always found it humorous that while they are eligible to vote they do not meet the residency requirements necessary to obtain a South Dakota Resident hunting license.
I sleep about 40 days per year in District 24 (Pierre). I also sleep in District 9 about 40 days per year. I travel to a variety of cities such as Fargo, Rapid City, Sisseton, Brookings, Miller, Kennebec and Orlando, on business and pleasure about 10 days per year. I sleep in District 3 about 275 days per year. Lorri May, which district should I vote in? Which district, in your opinion, should I run for office in?
Bill - good questions.
Bert Elliot wasn't in office, and near as I know, wasn't talking about running for the legislature 3 years ago when redistricting was done. I haven't heard anybody say (and apparently his relatives are commenting here) that the required decennial redistricting was in any way aimed at Bert specifically. There is an open seat in the district Bert lives in, but he didn't want to run there (apparently).
Bert's district (the one he and his wife reside in) does not include the majority of the city of Aberdeen, which is in the city he is running in. Bert lives in the county and that part of Brown County is in Chuck Welke's district (which means a Democrat has been elected there, in the only election since the district was created)
As for RVers, this is a really good discussion. I think the US Supreme Court decisions would require us to allow them to register to vote, so long as they only do it one place and they have no better place to call home. I think some of them do have a home elsewhere, but register here for our lower vehicle registration and licensing costs. If one of them ran for office, they would invite the scrutiny that they otherwise avoid. If they had a home elsewhere, as some of them do, they'd get the air let out of the tires by a tireless investigator like Cory (ask Bosworth how we'll those election scams work)
Thank you for that clarification, Richard! NOw just to make sure, you are saying that you do indeed "actually live" in District 6, right?
Senator Novstrup is indeed a traveling man. If his numbers are accurate, I see no reason to question his residency.
But note that if where one sleeps becomes the defining factor of voting residence, then RVers lose their SD right to vote, and college students lose their right to maintain their hometown voting registration. What are the proper criteria for determining where such itinerant people can vote and run for office?
Lee, why wait for an RVer to run? Your questions are making me think it's time for someone to provide a complete list of candidates, declared voting residence, and equalization office records of other property owned. Let's see just how many candidates satisfy Heinemeyer.
Judy, the Lake County auditor didn't mention anything about declaring that one intends to eventually live in the neighborhood as a criterion for allowing a traveler to register to vote in that neighborhood. Is that written in statute anywhere?
It is very interesting that we do have varying residency requirements for other state privileges, like hunting and in-state tuition. Of course, those are privileges, not fundamental constitutional rights. As Lee says, if we try to disenfranchise RVers entirely, the Supreme Court will overturn our efforts.
At the same time, We are able to place qualifications on candidates that are more strict than those we place on voters. To vote, you have to be 18 and not a felon. To run for President, you have to be 35 and a natural born citizen. Legislative candidates have to reside in their district at the time they sign their declarations of candidacy (SDCL 12-6-3.1.). Legislators must be 21 and have lived in South Dakota for two years preceding the election (SD Const. 3-3). Running for office is apparently a more abridgeable right than voting.
What became of Latterell's address in Tea-34328 106th Street?
You really are an angry unhappy person Rent you. You just can't help being a snark can you.
I dobt even know how to answer your question because it is again really a sarcastic attempt to disparage me and all repubs.
Good job, Jana: stick the earth haters with their own prods.
This Elliot flap is just one more diversion from SDGOP crimes.
Troy, not to burst your bubble of seeing me as a shrew out of a Arthur Miller play. I laugh everyday, I celebrate the large and small victories of people both large and small.
What does ratchet up my snark is the way the South Dakota GOP has turned the state into their own little toy for their own benefit and the benefit of their friends. Call it cronyism if you think the shoe fits.
I have said before that your party is not dissimilar to the junior-high-mean-girl-clique that can't fathom anyone mattering that isn't in their clique.
My joy comes from standing up to bullies and shining a light on the shallowness of what we see in the people who are running this state for their own benefit.
Al, if you truly are staying over half of the year at the residence address you are using for your campaign residence, then I stand corrected.
Jana, keep up the good work. It's sad that any attempt at debate/discussion is automatically regarded as "snark" by the GOP. They hardly hold the truth on truth and being above board on issues.
Mike - Mr. Latterrel's current residence of record - for voting purposes, is 6100 S Cain Ave., SF. How long it has been that........??
Cory, yes, I do actually reside in District 6 - at 308 S Cedar St. in Lennox, where I have lived for 11 years. I have lived a total of 30 years off and on in District 6, beginning with my BIRTH in Tea. My family has lived - and mostly continues to live - in District 6 since the 1870's. We've been here longer to the Ottens.
The town of Tea is built substantially on what was my great grand uncle's homestead. A portion of Interstate 29 runs through my Great Grandparent's homestead, where I lived for a time..
In the 2012 election, approximately1,400 people from America's Mailbox voted in the elections. This business now has over 6,000 "mailboxes". Each of these consumers gives the mailbox service Power of Attorney to renew their license plates, go through their mail and toss out things that don't appear important, (campaign literature included) and there is a question as to whom is actually asking for the "absentee ballots", the mailbox service or the actual registered voters. This mailbox service was gerrymandered into district 33 - it is at least 2 miles from the closest "real" voter's address. It has worked successfully to eliminate the Native American vote in North Rapid...a violation of the Voting Rights Act.
Dang. Robin, do you have a count of how many of those 6,000 "residents" actually vote our elections?
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