BISMARCK, N.D. — Agents from North Dakota’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation have been called in to help verify the validity of signatures on a petition to recall Bismarck Mayor Mike Seminary.
“We have encountered discrepancies with the petitions that may involve fraudulent activity. City administration does not have the capability to conduct investigations regarding these discrepancies,” city spokeswoman Gloria David told the Bismarck Tribune (http://bit.ly/2pMj59Z ) in a statement.
The petition came after critics accused the mayor of welcoming Dakota Access pipeline protesters to Bismarck.
The petition, which originally had about 2,500 names on it, needs 1,898 valid signatures to trigger a recall election.
City Administrator Keith Hunke said the city has already eliminated 400 signatures because those people did not live within the city limits. Other signatures with possible discrepancies were flagged in the process. Some of the issues included duplicative signatures and handwriting similarities among multiple signatures.
“There was a much higher level of discrepancy (compared to past petitions), so this is a little different for us,” Hunke said.
Cody Schuh, one of the petition circulators, said he found it a bit surprising that law enforcement was involved but said that a BCI agent had questioned him about a misplaced notarized signature on a petition he had submitted.
Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com