12k and National Voter Outreach
I followed it to the J.A.I.L. site, and if I hadn't noted it before, I see they're sitting at about 12,000 signatures. And then something had caught my eye from 9/12 that I know I hadn't noticed before (article from and hat tip to the JAIL news page):
We are currently at around 12,000 signatures on our way toward our goal of 42,500. We have approximately 50 people, both paid and volunteer, collecting signatures. The South Dakota Judicial Accountability Amendment WILL be on the 2006 ballot, so you naysayers out there might as well get over it!
Susan Johnson from National Voter Outreach (775-883-7447) is in charge of the paid signature gatherers. (my emphasis - pp) When asked whether the general attitude of the public has been positive, negative, or indifferent she said, "Let me put it this way, virtually no one has refused to sign. The signers have been overall receptive to the amendment's stated goal of making the judiciary accountable."
They're using paid signature gatherers. Actually, the website for the consultant (at directdemocracy.com) refers to their organization as "professional signature gathering." It appears they know their stuff - I see the principles of the firm have been writing for Campaign and Elections magazine for several years.
NVO has conducted successful signature campaigns in the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wyoming and Washington D.C.Nope. No South Dakota in there. I guess I hadn't really given much consideration to the ballot measure supporters for J.A.I.L. bringing in hired guns from out of state. The last time paid gatherers were known to be used in SD, I seem to recall there might have been some problems.
Strategically, it was a smart move on the J.A.I.L. initiative organizer's part. If you aren't sure you can get the signatures, write the check and bring in someone who can.
And if the pockets are that deep for the people promoting this measure, it could very well make it on the ballot and be a spirited campaign.