Group Sues Secretary Of State Over IM21, A Ballot Measure Capping Interest Rates At 36 Percent

Jun 21, 2016

A special interest group is suing the Secretary of State over a ballot initiative she gave the green light to late last year.

The suit alleges that several circulators of the petition sheets are invalid because they didn’t live at the residential address indicated on paper.

When a registered voter signs a petition to get an initiative on the November ballot, technically only the county has to match the where the signee is registered.

However, Give Us Credit South Dakota alleges that that’s not the case with the petition circulators. They say circulators with a measure that puts a 36 percent interest rate cap on short term loans have invalid addresses and that others were from out of state… which is prohibited by South Dakota law.

Petitioners for the measure submitted almost 20,000 signatures, but only needed close to 14,000.

Secretary of State Shantel Krebs found that over 17,000 signatures were valid by performing a random five percent sample, as required by the state constitution.

Krebs says the process of validating a petition is comprehensive.

“We have to follow what, again, is clarified in state statute as required as well as what is laid out in administrative rule. And as you just heard, there’s probably over 50 items that we look at within that whole form of itself, within the circulator area, within the notary area, within the signature lines themselves. So, the process is extensive, and that’s why it takes so long when you’re verifying and reviewing one ballot measure that presents 19 or 20,000 signatures, potentially,” Krebs says.

Krebs says that any individual can challenge her decision that allows a measure on the November ballot.

That’s where Give Us Credit South Dakota comes in. Bradley Thuringer is listed as a contact for the group, but could not be reached for comment….

Multiple attempts to reach Give Us Credit South Dakota were not met. Sara Frankenstien, an attorney representing the group, also declined to comment.

Meanwhile, Krebs says the court case on the measure will take priority. That’s in order to meet the deadline for the middle of August when ballots are set to be printed.