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Port: Petitioner at the heart of term limits controversy has signatures for candidacy rejected as well

As the campaign behind a ballot measure to implement term limits in North Dakota argues in court that their signatures are valid, one of the petitioners they hired to gather those signatures just saw petitions in support of his independent candidacy for secretary of state tossed.

Tuttle.jpg
Charles Tuttle, of Minot, poses at Fox Island Marina in Bismarck.
Kyle Martin / Special to The Forum
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MINOT, N.D. — Charles Tuttle, of Minot, is a political activist and professional signature gatherer for various ballot measure campaigns.

He is at the heart of controversy over a term limits ballot measure that was rejected by Secretary of State Al Jaeger's office over problems with the signature gathering process, including alleged fraud.

The term limits campaign, which had employed Tuttle to gather signatures, is currently using a lawyer who pursued disgraced former President Donald Trump's false claims of election fraud to sue the state of North Dakota over their measure's rejection .

Last week a district court judge, tasked by the state Supreme Court with reviewing the evidence in the case, issued a ruling in favor of the state's decision to reject the ballot measure .

As a part of a criminal investigation into that matter, Tuttle's home was searched by law enforcement agents .

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Now Tuttle, who is looking to put himself on the ballot for secretary of state as an independent, just had the signatures he submitted in support of that candidacy rejected by Jaeger.

On Aug. 24, Tuttle submitted to Jaeger's office petitions purporting to hold the 1,000 signatures he would need to be placed on the ballot as an independent candidate.

Jaeger found that only about 60% of those signatures were valid.

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Per a letter sent by Jaeger to Tuttle, he rejected 413 of the 1,023 signatures submitted, including 249 which were collected before April 8, 2022 (state law says independent candidates can't use signatures collected more than 150 days before election day), and another 173 were rejected because the signatures weren't valid (some were from people who used out-of-state addresses).

Jaeger also noted that Tuttle did not submit a certificate of nomination, which is also required by state law.

Per Jaeger, Tuttle still has until Sept. 6 to turn in the required number of signatures and other documents.

It would be ironic if, even as the term limits ballot measure campaign argues in court that their signatures were valid, one of the petitioners they hired to collect those signatures was also kept off the ballot due to illegitimate signatures.

Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at rport@forumcomm.com. Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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