Judge unable to reach woman seeking to challenge NoemCourt hearing adjourned Tuesday; Secretary of State printing ballots as early voting starts Friday.
By: CHET BROKAW, The Associated Press
PIERRE — A Rapid City businesswoman has asked a judge to overrule the secretary of state and place her name on the June 5 primary ballot so she can challenge Rep. Kristi Noem for the Republican nomination to run for South Dakota’s lone U.S. House seat.
Stephanie Strong argues that Jason Gant, the state’s chief elections officer, unfairly rejected some of the signatures on her nominating petition.
But Gant, in a response filed Tuesday with the circuit court, said he followed the law in declaring some of the petition signatures invalid. Gant also argued that Strong waited too long to go to court because the law requires primary ballots be printed today so absentee voting can begin Friday.
Circuit Judge Mark Barnett held a brief hearing late Tuesday, but adjourned the proceeding after a few minutes because he was unable to reach Strong on the telephone. Barnett said he has not been able to determine if Gant was properly served with the lawsuit.
Strong, who is acting as her own lawyer, did not immediately answer a call placed Tuesday evening by the Associated Press to the telephone number listed in her lawsuit.
Strong, who owns a business with her husband, said in her lawsuit that she submitted more than the 1,955 valid signatures needed to put her name on the June primary ballot, but Gant’s rejection of a number of signatures left her 49 signatures short of the required number.