Should Petition Fraud Be A More Serious Crime In North Dakota?
The reaction from many – especially NDSU football fans – to news that 10 players were involved in forging tens of thousands of signatures on petitions for two ballot measures is to poo-poo the seriousness of the crime. Even NDSU Athletic Director Gene Taylor, in stating that there will be no suspensions for any of the Bison players involved with the fraud, tried to down-play the seriousness of what they did.
The basis for a lot of this is the fact that the players are being charged with Class A Misdemeanors. That’s still a serious crime, but the “misdemeanor” part is leading a lot of people to think that this was some trivial thing.
It is not. These players defrauded their employers and the committees backing the measures (who themselves might be guilty of requiring illegal signature quotas). They purposefully forged the signatures of tens of thousands of North Dakotans. They undermined the political process. These actions are worthy of charges greater than a misdemeanor, which is no doubt why Secretary of State Al Jaeger is calling for the crime of petition fraud to be made into a felony.
Jaeger has the right of this. Even if the folks at NDSU, more concerned with winning football games than holding their athletes accountable, won’t see the seriousness of what happened the legislature ought to.Tags: al jaeger, initiated measures, NDSU, ndsu bison, North Dakota News, petitions