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Published by Rob Port

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Published by: Rob Port on Sep 04, 2012
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September 4, 2012
BISMARCK, ND – Two proposed measures will not be on the November generalelection ballot and eleven people who collected petition signatures will be charged withfiling false statements or facilitation of voter fraud, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjemand Secretary of State Al Jaeger announced at a joint news conference today.The affected measures are the proposed Constitutional initiative establishing a CleanWater, Lands and Outdoor Heritage Fund and the statutory initiative for MedicalMarijuana.A review of purported signatures on several of the petitions raised suspicions in theSecretary of State’s office, and Jaeger met with Stenehjem, who launched a criminalinvestigation by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation. The investigation revealed thatseveral circulators of the petitions had forged signatures on the petitions, either bytaking names from the telephone directory, cell phone contact lists of the circulators, orsimply making up names of people. The number of fictitious signatures that cannot becounted brings the number of valid signatures below the minimum needed to be placedon the ballot for the November election.“At the same time that the state’s constitution guarantees the initiative right to itscitizens, it also mandates the Secretary of State to determine the sufficiency of thepetitions that are submitted. My staff and I take that responsibility very seriously,” saidJaeger.“Petition fraud is an affront to the election process and to all citizens, and particularly tothose who legitimately signed the petitions hoping to have these measures placed onthe ballot. That’s why it’s essential that these allegations are investigated and violationsprosecuted,” said Stenehjem.The two measures were filed separately with the Secretary of State’s office on August 6,2012.Charges have been filed against Aireal Boyd, Josh Colville, Josh Gatlin, DemetriusGrey, Jennifer Krahn, Lane O’Brien, Samuel Ojuri, Brendin Pierre, Antonio Rodgers,Bryan Shepherd and Marcus Williams, for facilitation of voter fraud or filing a falsestatement. The charges are Class A Misdemeanors. The criminal complaints allege thateach of the circulators of a petition are required to sign an affidavit stating theywitnessed all the signatures and that all signatures are genuine. However, theinvestigation found that the statements were not correct and that many of the individualswhose signatures appeared on the petitions had not, in fact, signed them.

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