Vote Watch 2004
Vote/Election fraud, vote suppression, voting irregularities, voter intimidation in Election 2004

 

Acknowledgements


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SOUTH DAKOTA

11/2/04 [Permalink]
GOP in South Dakota intimidates Native American voters by writing down their license plate numbers - judge orders them to stop the practice

Via Demos, here's a report in the Argus Leader [link outdated - see this alternate link sent by reader DB]:

Republican poll workers in Lake Andes were intimidating Native American voters on Monday, a federal judge ruled early today.

Republicans may not write down license plate numbers or follow Native Americans from polling places during today's election, U.S. District Judge Lawrence Piersol ruled in a temporary restraining order.

The ruling comes after Democratic Sen. Tom Daschle sued his opponent, John Thune, and the GOP in federal court in Sioux Falls on Monday, asking Piersol to stop what Democrats say was intimidation of voters.

"This ruling will hopefully ensure that every legitimate voter can vote free of intimidation on Election Day," said Daschle spokesman Dan Pfeiffer.

Piersol, whom Daschle chose for the federal bench, released his opinion about 1:45 a.m. today after hearing one witness from each side.

Daschle is depending on heavy turnout from Native American voters to win an expected close election.

Republicans had not decided whether to appeal, as of early today.

"It's a total joke," said Dick Wadhams, Thune's campaign manager. "What you've got is a situation where there is no credible evidence presented and the judge bent over backward for his long-time political pal."

Daschle charges that GOP poll observers have been crowding voters, making notes as they voted and writing down license plate numbers of cars bringing them to vote.

 

10/31/04 [Permalink]
GOP challenger John Thune's campaign in South Dakota hits another low with disgusting flyer with racist overtones; additionally his campaign was found photographing Native American voters

Via Buzzflash, Blue Lemur/Raw Story points us to this report in Indian Country (a picture of the flyer is in the original article) - bold text is my emphasis:

A campaign flyer from John Thune's campaign office started a groundswell of resentment as it brought back some unpleasant memories of racism in South Dakota.

A flyer with a picture of prairie dogs on the front with the words ''The dogs are lining up to vote for Tom Daschle,'' appeared in many western South Dakota mail boxes just a week before the election.

Prairie dogs are a major problem for ranchers in the state, and it has become a campaign issue.

And to add fuel to the fire, Thune campaign workers were caught taking photos of people who voted early on the Rosebud Reservation.

The problem for Indian country originated decades ago when many stores in the state displayed signs that said, ''No Dogs or Indians allowed.'' The inference that American Indians are equated with dogs has carried on in the minds of many people middle aged and older, and they have spoken of those memories to the younger people.

Many people have taken the flyer issue to the Democratic Party offices on the Rosebud and Pine Ridge reservation and it was a major topic on the Pine Ridge Radio station KILI on Oct. 28.

''I'm very surprised to hear there is a problem,'' said Dick Wadhams, Thune's campaign manager.
[eRiposte note: Really!]

''Anyone who reads the piece will see that it has to do with prairie dogs in South Dakota,'' he said. ''I'm sorry if someone took offense.''

Prairie dogs are a problem on the Rosebud, Pine Ridge and other reservations, as well as in the ranch country of western South Dakota, but the tribes are trying to resolve the issue in a cultural way.

American Indians look at the prairie dog as a member of the animal nation and show it respect. The prairie dogs in harmony with the buffalo create a balanced ecosystem. The American Indians who are ranchers also want a solution, but a sensible and culturally-sensitive solution.

The prairie dog flyer comes on the heels of a letter sent by the state Republican Party that implied that the 2002 election won by Sen. Tim Johnson was stolen. Thune was his challenger and lost the election by 524 votes. Even though the reservations were not mentioned in the letter, people in the state associated the letter with American Indian voters.

''This letter already made the association with the reservations and American Indian voters.

''This flyer shows poor taste and judgment,'' said Robert Moore, chief of staff for Rosebud Chairman Charles Colombe.

Moore said he remembers the story of his grandfather and grandmother traveling in a wagon all day to go to town only to find the store closed to them with the sign that read: ''No dogs and Indians allowed.''

The flyer wouldn't have been so offensive had it used the words prairie dog instead of just dog. Also inside the flyer the sentence: ''No wonder the varmints are heading to the polls to vote for him.''

As that flyer was put in the mail, there were more than 1,300 members of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe that had already voted; at Pine Ridge more than 1,000. So the inference is perceived, people said, that they are the dogs that are showing up to vote. It is known that American Indians vote Democratic more than Republican.

''This is a people to people issue, not a nation to nation issue. It's a tragedy, people are feeling pain. If they call us dogs once again we won't pay any attention to them,'' Moore said.

People said on the radio they know the flyer was about prairie dogs, but the poor choice of words brought back memories of racial epithets.

''We are also a people who have issues with prairie dogs and also who are trying to figure out how to pay for prescription drugs. We are not only tribal members we are citizens of this state,'' Moore said.

Another major issue that surfaced regarding the Thune campaign was that some people who identified themselves as Thune's campaign workers were taking pictures of people who went to the auditor's office to vote early.

''They don't want us to vote. We will be talking about this for years because we don't want this to happen again,'' Moore said.

Thune's campaign office had no comment about the photos taken at the voting location.

 

10/22/04 [Permalink]
Dirty Tricks and Fraud against Democratic Senator Tom Daschle get real dirty in South Dakota 

Based on the use of specific wording ("S.T.D.") in the mailer accompanying the offensive sticker (below) and the mass mailings which would have been quite difficult for a random individual or small fry group to indulge in, Daschle suggests College Republicans (who previously had sold T-shirts made with the words "Get Rid of Your STD") are behind this - potentially including those who were involved in the recent Jeff Thune absentee ballot scandal in the same state.

Josh Marshall provides a lead to this story:

Another contender for our Karl Rove Dirty Trick's Watch?

You'll remember from Josh Green's piece on Rove's tactics in the current Atlantic Monthly, Rove has a certain penchant, shall we say, for mounting whisper campaigns which suggest that whatever candidate he happens to be running against at the moment is gay.

(What is it with these Republicans and gay sex?)

Well, it seems someone in South Dakota has been sending out stickers to churches in the state that read "Vote for Daschle & Vote for SODOMY."

Maybe not Rove, of course. But perhaps some young Rove acolyte learning the ropes?

Here is the Argus Leader story:

A window sticker scarcely larger than a standard photo print has the nation's top elected Democrat and the state's Republican Party pressing separately for a criminal investigation.

The white-on-blue sticker reads, "Vote for Daschle & Vote for SODOMY." A disclaimer alerts readers that fees were "Paid for by someone who loves Jesus and friends of swlJ. This ad is not authorized by any candidate of (sic) candidate committee."

The mass mailing went out earlier this month to churches statewide. A select few homeowners with yard signs supporting Democratic Sen. Tom Daschle also received copies in their mailboxes.

The anonymous disclaimer offers no real identity, and the return address is that of Daschle's re-election headquarters.

Dan Pfeiffer, Daschle's deputy campaign manager, said that amounts to mail fraud, one of the charges leveled against the South Dakota Republican Party in a formal complaint to the Federal Election Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice. Pfeiffer said the party is the only group in the state that could support such an effort.

The Republican Party denies the allegation. That group's leaders appealed to the FEC to sort out the matter, mailing their request to the commission and to the South Dakota U.S. attorney's office.

Those who opened the envelopes saw the Web address of the Marriage Amendment Project. The coalition's executive director, Shannon Royce, said her nonprofit had nothing to do with the message and did not authorize the use of its site name.

The phone numbers of the Daschle campaign and the senator's toll-free constituent line in Washington, D.C., are provided, as well.

Daschle's complaint adds phone harassment and misrepresentation of campaign authority to the mail-fraud accusation.

An enclosed flier urges recipients to vote against Daschle if he doesn't support a marriage amendment, an act to keep "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance and legislation that would allow pastors to preach on political issues without fear of losing their church's nonprofit status.

Possible link to students

Daschle's campaign links the state Republican Party to Augustana College students who printed and sold T-shirts with the slogan "Get Rid of Your STD." The acronym S.T.D.HQ., for "Senator Tom Daschle Headquarters," appears in the first line of the return address.

One of those students, Andrew Hodney, is a leader in Augustana's chapter of the College Republican Federation and an employee of his party's state organization.

Two other Augustana Republicans, Jennifer Giannonatti and Nathan Mertz, resigned from their leadership roles in the state Federation of College Republicans less than two weeks ago. They stepped down after questions were raised about possible irregularities in absentee ballot requests. Previously, both were contract workers for the state GOP's Victory get-out-the-vote effort.

Broad in scope

"We believe well over 1,000 churches have received this mailing, so the idea that a couple of college kids in their dorm rooms did this is incredibly absurd," Pfeiffer said. The complaint charges that students used the state Republican Party's resources to get out the message.

The scope of the mailings "suggests they have a huge database of information, the type of thing you would find at the South Dakota Republican Party," Pfeiffer said. "I think it's an incredible stretch to say that two groups, both using the same slogan to attack Tom Daschle, are operating independently of each other."

Dick Wadhams, campaign manager for Daschle's opponent, Republican John Thune, said his candidate and staff members had no part in the mailing.

Hodney said he and a friend printed the "STD" shirts on their own and paid costs out of their own pockets. The first he'd heard of the stickers, he said, was during a meeting with Bruce Halverson, Augustana president.

"When your school's president asks to meet with you, you hope it's to talk about scholarships or accolades, not to defend your College Republicans chapter," said Hodney, a junior from Aberdeen.

In his opinion, the complaint itself "seems to be based on speculations."

"It sounds like a trend," he said. "They're using our slogan, the campaign's address and another group's Web site. I don't know who did it, and I don't know who would waste a few thousand dollars upsetting people."

In that respect, at least, he, Pfeiffer and state Republican Party leadership all agree.

"It makes no sense. Why would we send something that would cause more harm than good?" asked Jason Glodt, the state GOP's executive director. "Anyone who thinks that's getting votes doesn't know anything about politics. It's repulsive and unacceptable. For Daschle to try to attach our name is equally repulsive."

Glodt calls the complaint against his group "completely baseless," not to mention a few days late. He mailed the Republican Party's investigation requests Monday, the day Daschle campaign manager Steve Hildebrandt confronted him personally.

"It is truly remarkable that they're trying to stretch the link between the initials of 'Senator Tom Daschle' to this," Glodt said. "It's also 'Stop Tom Daschle' or any number of things."

The envelopes carry a Sioux Falls postmark, with Oct. 5 as a common date. Many had bad addresses and bounced back to the post office, which forwarded them to Daschle campaign headquarters with a yellow "Return to Sender" label.

...

Annac1aire at Dailykos says this is an old GOP trick in SD:

This is an ooooooold state GOP trick.  In 2002, they fliered cars in church parking lots - particularly Catholic churches - throughout South Dakota on the Sunday before the election with the message "Thank Tim Johnson (current SD Senator, ran against Thune) for his work to KEEP ABORTION LEGAL" and his campaign's phone number.  The fliers stated they came from Johnson's office.  This has been done at least three other times I can think of, against candidates for statewide office, and against candidates for state legislature.  Republicans blamed a "radical leftist organization" for the fliers.    

 

10/12/04 [Permalink] UPDATED 10/30/04
Illegal Handling of Absentee Ballot Requests by GOP in South Dakota mushrooms into a scandal, amid resignations; many ballot requests were not even submitted; six Republican notaries charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor and three plead guilty

Sdindc at Dailykos originally reported this:

John Thune's nephew was caught by KELO-TV committing election fraud earlier today.  The nephew of Tom Daschle's opponent said, on camera, that he was a notary public and had witnessed about 75 absentee ballot requests.  The station checked the state database of notaries, however, and it turns out he is NOT a notary public.

KELO broke the story, and it led the local news. Video is available.

He provided an update here. Remember, in South Dakota, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle is in a race too close for comfort with Republican John Thune. Bold text is my emphasis.

Earlier this week, John Thune, the man challenging Tom Daschle in South Dakota found himself in the midst of a family voter fraud scandal.  The Thune campaign dismissed the report as a misstatement by a volunteer.

Now, it looks like the fraud is much more widespread than previously reported.  According to today's Sioux Falls Argus Leader, the Secretary of State, and the Attorney General, are investigating the allegedly illegal actions of Jeff Thune, John Thune's nephew, and Rachel Hoff, a woman employed by the state Republican party.  The fraud is allegedly happening in a number of communities across the state, and local auditors are holding questionable documents that seem to be illegally notarized [by Jeff Thune who apparently claimed falsely to registrants that he was a Notary].

Voter fraud is indeed serious, but there is real irony in John Thune breaking election laws.  You may remember that Thune screamed voter fraud in his 2002 race in an effort to justify tactics to suppress the minority vote on South Dakota's Native American Reservations.  The Republican Attorney general made clear that there was no widespread voter fraud in 2002, but the Republicans were out in force on the reseravations on election day, attempting to intimidate Native voters. They did the same during the Herseth special election.

So now, it seems, the chickens are coming home to roost.  The guy who screamed about voter fraud as a means to justify anti-Indain voter intimidation tactics, is now engaging in voter fraud himself to try to beat Tom Daschle.

I know that there have been some here who wish that Tom Daschle would have made different decisions as Democratic Leader.  But we can all agree that people like John Thune, who accuse others of voter fraud to suppress minority voters while engaging in voter fraud themselves, deserve to be beaten, badly.

Update [2004-10-9 14:53:5 by sdindc]: Another story on the investigation by law enforcement officials of Thune's nephew in Brookings.

As the Argus Leader points out [bold text is my emphasis]:

Jeff Thune, the candidate's nephew, set up a table earlier this week at South Dakota State University to process applications. According to the South Dakota secretary of state's Web site, he is not a certified notary public, as required by state law.

Secretary of State Chris Nelson said Thursday he has asked Clyde Calhoon, Brookings County state's attorney, to determine whether Jeff Thune acted illegally.
...
It is a Class 1 misdemeanor for someone who is not a certified notary public to notarize applications for absentee ballots.

Any application that was illegally processed may be declared void, Nelson said.

...
Meanwhile, stories of voter problems stretch beyond Brookings. Several applications arrived in the Clay County auditor's office that were filled out by University of South Dakota students who attended a Sept. 20 meeting at a sorority house.

Laura Gulk was one of the USD students who applied to vote.

"There were three men," she said. "They asked me what party I was affiliated with, and then they gave me an application to fill out."

Gulk said she did not know the men and could not remember whether they applied the notary seal. When the application showed up in the auditor's office, Rachel M. Hoff's name appeared as the notary public.

State law requires that the notary who affixes the seal witness the person making the application.


Hoff is an employee of the state Republican Party. She could not be reached for comment Thursday night.

Jen Gray, another USD student, said she was asked by two men at her sorority house if she wanted to fill out an application. She did not recall the men asking what her party affiliation and did not know if they applied the seal when she was through.

When her application was processed, it, too, showed Hoff's name and signature as the notary.

Dailykos reports this today:

Some background

The man in charge of South Dakota elections demanded answers about questionable absentee ballot applications. KELOLAND news first brought you the story Wednesday about applications that may have been improperly notarized.

Hundreds of actual votes could be in question as a result of this. Because if an absentee ballot request isn't valid, the ballot won't be either. Secretary of State Chris Nelson wants to keep that from happening. "I want to know what happened," says Nelson.

Nelson asked the Brookings County State's Attorney to look into reports a campaign volunteer, on the SDSU campus wasn't a certified notary. Jeff Thune told KELOLAND TV his group notarized 75 absentee applications. But we checked. According to the state Jeff Thune is not a certified notary. A spokesman for Thune's campaign says Jeff Thune mis-spoke and didn't do anything wrong.

Except that Thune did not mispeak, and had, in fact done something wrong. While criminal investigations are ongoing, the SD GOP did some damage control and fired a bunch of the people involved. Tonight six people connected with the South Dakota republican party have resigned over questions surrounding absentee ballot applications.

The state director of the Republican Victory Program, Larry Russell is one of them, along with state republican party employee Eric Fahrendorf. Four independent contractors involved with the absentee ballot applications also resigned. They are Joe Alick, Nathan Mertz, Todd Schlekeway and Rachel Hoff.

Hoff was the notary whose signature and seal appeared on many applications from KELOLAND college students. But several students say only men were there when they filled out the forms.

Mount Marty student Cassandra Herout says, "All I know is they were gonna have the form notarized or audited or something before they sent it in. She was never present at all."

Jeff Thune doesn't appear to be in that bunch.

Now, the SD GOP has to verify each of the hundred of absentee ballots, tying up time and money, all the while facing investigations by both the secretary of state and attorney general's offfices.

UPDATE 10/13/04:
Dailykos also notes what former South Dakota Congressman Republican Bill Janklow (who went to jail for a hit and run that killed someone) said:

And, being the state's most prominant Republican, these words are huge [bold text is eRiposte emphasis]: 

The former governor and congressman says the national GOP is encouraging campaign workers to cheat. He says his ire is directed at the Republican Party's Victory operation, which helps register people and get them to the polls.

Janklow says his problem with the organization goes back to 2002 when he was a candidate for the US House.

UPDATE 10/16/04:

Via annac1aire at Dailykos, here's an update on this scandal from the Argus Leader - more College Republicans resign and 75 student absentee ballot applications were never submitted by Thune to the county auditor.

Seventy-five applications for absentee ballots collected at South Dakota State University by Jeff Thune, nephew of Republican Senate candidate John Thune, were not completed and submitted to a county auditor, a state Republican Party official said Friday.

"They were never notarized and never turned in, never filed with an auditor," said Jason Glodt, the party's executive director.

That means the students who filled out the applications will have to clear another hurdle to vote in the Nov. 2 general election.

In other developments Friday:

The South Dakota Federation of College Republicans announced that the chairman and executive director of the organization have resigned amid questions about the absentee-ballot application process at several South Dakota campuses.

Three of the six state Republican Party workers who resigned late last week are now working as field coordinators for the Republican Party in Ohio, not for the Bush-Cheney campaign, according to Ohio officials.

The controversy began last week after Jeff Thune set up a table in the Larson Commons at SDSU to collect applications for absentee ballots.

He is not listed on a state register of certified notaries public, and no notary was present when the applications were taken, according to several students who filled them out.

The students said Jeff Thune told them their applications would be notarized later.

An application for an absentee ballot must be accompanied by a copy of a photo identification or a notarized statement confirming the voter's identity.

State Republican Party employees are tracking down the 75 people who applied for an absentee ballot with Jeff Thune to get photocopies of their IDs so their applications can be made valid.

"It's a simple fix," Glodt said. "They are incomplete until accompanied by a photo ID."

An investigation is under way in Brookings County, where the state Division of Criminal Investigation has interviewed several people, including Jeff Thune, who could not be reached for comment Friday night.

The DCI report could come Monday, said Clyde Calhoon, Brookings County state's attorney.

Jon Bierne, a DCI member, and Chris Nelson, secretary of state, said there is no indication that Jeff Thune committed a crime.

Glodt agreed. "I don't believe he did anything wrong," Glodt said. "He didn't notarize anything."

Reports of possible ballot-application irregularities have stretched beyond Brookings to campuses in Clay, Yankton and Lawrence counties. Students at those colleges have said young men obtained their applications, but the documents were questioned when it was discovered that several were notarized by Rachel Hoff of the state GOP's Victory get-out-the-vote operation.

Six people involved with the Victory operation lost their jobs late last week because of the questions about irregularities, including Hoff and Larry Russell, Victory's executive director.

Russell and two of the others who resigned - Nathan Mertz and Todd Schlekeway - are now working for the state Republican Party in Ohio, said Jason Mauk, Ohio Republican Party spokesman.

"They are not with Bush-Cheney. They are working for the party," Mauk said Friday. "Larry and the others are field coordinators for our voter turnout in Cuyahoga County (Cleveland). They work the phone banks, recruit and organize volunteer activities, but they are not working in a supervisory capacity."

Brendon Cull, communications director for the Ohio Democratic Party campaign, said he was surprised that the former campaign workers were coming to Ohio.

"Clearly, these guys are bad enough actors that the GOP in South Dakota didn't want them, and I don't really think they belong in Ohio," Cull said. "Certainly, we hope they aren't up to anything nefarious."

UPDATE 10/22/04:

Via Josh Marshall, an update in the Argus Leader:

Six Republican notary publics face a misdemeanor charge in connection with absentee ballot applications filled out on South Dakota college campuses, but there's no evidence of voter fraud, Attorney General Larry Long said Friday.

Long and Secretary of State Chris Nelson outlined a two-week investigation in a document faxed to county auditors and state's attorneys.

The document states "it is a near certainty that all absentee voters that had their application notarized by one of the six notaries" will be challenged in court.

"Lawyers who represent the Democrats have written to us and told us that," Long told reporters.

Several attorneys have contacted him, he said.

He, Chris Nelson, Minnehaha County State's Attorney Dave Nelson and Minnehaha County Auditor Sue Roust briefed reporters on the investigation.

Five of the Republican notaries were charged in Minnehaha County since the ballot applications were all processed in Sioux Falls, even though some were gathered elsewhere.

Those five are: Joseph Alick, 28; Nathan Mertz, 20; Todd Schlekeway, 27; Rachel Hoff, 22; and Eric Fahrendorf, 24. Another GOP worker, Jennifer Giannonatti, will be charged in Pennington County because of ballots collected in Rapid City, Long said.

Campuses included in the investigation include South Dakota State, University of South Dakota, Augustana College, Mount Marty College, Black Hills State, Dakota State, Northern State and the School of Mines & Technology.

Dave Nelson said the six are charged with improper use of a notary commission, a Class 2 misdemeanor punishable by up to a month in jail and a $200 fine. They can also lose their notary licenses.

"Notary violations are very, very common" in government and business, he said.

But unlike most cases that aren't prosecuted, the six were charged because they made it possible for someone's vote not to count, Dave Nelson said.

"The potential consequences of these acts are significant and far reaching," he said.

The five charged in Sioux Falls are scheduled to make their first court appearance next Friday. They are all cooperating, he said.

Most of the absentee ballot applications acquired by the Republican get-out-the-vote effort were legal and there's no indication that any unqualified voter tried to cast an absentee ballot, Long said.

The only people who broke the law are the six notaries who failed to watch some people sign the documents, he said.

"Sometimes they did and sometimes they didn't," Long said.

"Everybody who's committed crimes has been charged," he said. "We don't have any reason to believe there's anything else out there."

The investigation didn't find a formal Republican Party policy that encouraged workers to skirt the law, Long said. "What we found was sloppy supervision."
[eRiposte note: Yeah, right! "Sloppy supervision".]

Larry Russell, who ran the GOP's get-out-the-vote program, resigned earlier this month. Russell, who had sought the party's nomination for a special U.S. House election in June, was replaced as head of the Republican Victory operation by Herb Jones, manager of U.S. Senate candidate John Thune's 2002 Senate bid.

Chris Nelson's office commissions the state's notaries, who are legally public officials.

"There's six individuals that didn't take that responsibility seriously and violated that trust," he said.

Chris Nelson said he wants to make sure no voter is disenfranchised and that the Election Day vote count is not disrupted.

The document faxed to auditors asks them to compare voter registration cards with absentee ballot applications to make sure it's the same person. It also outlines how the local election board should handle a challenge to a voter's identity.

Chris Nelson said that rarely happens but could this year.

According to Long and Chris Nelson's document, Hoff improperly notarized 71 applications and about half of Giannonatti's 111 were improper. The secretary of state said his office will contact those 182 applicants and ask each to submit a photo ID.

Alick improperly notarized about 60 applications. But since there's no copy of the forms, all auditors have been asked to look for his name, contact those applicants and ask for a copy of their photo ID.

Long and Chris Nelson said the investigation couldn't sort out all applications done by Hoff, Giannonatti, Mertz, Fahrendorf and Schlekeway, but the Republican Party wrote to about 1,400 applicants and asked them to send in a photo copy of their ID to the county auditor.
...
Long said he hopes that if any ballots are challenged in court, the judge sides with the voter's right to be counted and agrees that the solution was a valid way to fix problems caused by wayward notaries.

UPDATE 10/28/04

Via jimbo2d2 at DailyKos, a report of a GOP official resigning after being unhappy with the GOP's dirty tricks:

GOP party official steps down

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - With less than two weeks to go before next month's general election, another South Dakota Republican Party leader is stepping down.
Jan Nicolay, a member of the party's executive board and a former state lawmaker, said Thursday she is upset with some of the tactics being used in this year's election.

Her resignation comes in the wake of the recent resignations of six other people connected to the party.

At issue are questions students on some college campuses have raised about whether absentee ballot applications were legally notarized.

Because of the flap, Nicolay said some students have become disillusioned with the political process and that's not right.

"It would be easier to sit back and say and do nothing but at the same time I couldn't do that," Nicolay told KELO-TV of Sioux Falls. "I just think it's a disservice to the young people that are probably for the first time getting involved or looking forward to getting involved."

Nicolay said the party did the right thing by enforcing a zero-tolerance policy, but she said she still doesn't want to be involved anymore.

"I'm bothered. We need to keep it clean. We need to protect this process. And people that are involved in it need to understand that. The candidates need to set the highest standard and say this is what we need to do and I guess I don't think it's been done."

In a statement, the party said it had already acted appropriately to address the issues Nicolay raised.

 

UPDATE 10/30/04

Via Buzzflash, here's an update:

Three of the six people to be charged in connection with absentee ballot applications pleaded guilty Friday in Sioux Falls.

A magistrate fined Joseph Alick, Todd Schlekeway and Rachel Hoff $200 each and gave them a 30-day suspended jail sentence. They also voluntarily gave up their notary public commissions.

Eric Fahrendorf's hearing is set for Wednesday and Nathan Mertz's lawyer rescheduled his first court appearance to Nov. 8.

The charges are misdemeanors.

Jennifer Giannonatti is to be charged in Rapid City, but no complaint has yet been filed, officials said Friday.

The six former Republican campaign workers are accused of notarizing some absentee ballot applications without seeing the voter sign the document.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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