Did you or someone you know receive a call asking if you were misled when signing the pro-abortion petition sponsored by Dakotans for Health? You may have been told the call was fake, a scam, or illegitimate – but all of those claims were incorrect. The calls were a legitimate effort we should be thankful for, attempting to ensure signees knew exactly what their name was on.

Let’s rewind: at this point, it’s widely known that the group Dakotans for Health used illegitimate tactics when circulating a petition that would put a radical abortion amendment on the ballot in November. They were reprimanded by the Attorney General, but went forward with submitting their petition early this month. It has been initially certified, but there is still pending litigation.

Because of Dakotans for Health’s documented manipulation tactics, the legislature passed a bill last session that allowed people to remove their name from a petition if they were lied to, manipulated, or simply changed their mind about it.

That’s where the phone calls come in – volunteers with the South Dakota Petition Integrity Committee began calling people who were on the publicly available petition sample to ask if they were given accurate information before they signed the petition. This raised a few eyebrows. Several people called the Secretary of State’s office asking questions about the calls.

Unfortunately, the Secretary of State’s office misunderstood what was happening, and publicly denounced the phone calls as a “scam,” asking the Attorney General’s Department of Criminal Investigation to further investigate. Within a matter of hours, the AG’s office found that the South Dakota Petition Integrity Committee was behind the calls, and announced that it was a legitimate effort to see if anyone was misled about the petition and wanted to remove their name.

“We are doing what we are required and allowed to do under the law in order to challenge the petition signatures,” Life Defense Fund co-founder Jon Hansen said. “I wish the secretary of state would have just called us, and we could have shown her everything we are saying and doing. All of our calls are clearly not scams, and they are legal.”

The South Dakota Petition Integrity Committee subsequently released a copy of the script volunteers were using to make calls. In it, the volunteers say that the group is registered with the Secretary of State’s Office, and that is where they obtained the name and number of the people they were calling, which is available through public record requests.

“The DCI investigation acted promptly in reviewing the complaints as well as the scripts used by volunteers,” Marty Jackley stated in a press release. “Based on the evidence collected, there is no indication of criminal activity.”

While some signees may have been put off by the calls, we should appreciate and respect that dedicated volunteers are working to ensure that everyone who signed the petition was accurately informed. Anyone who was unlawfully deceived about what they were signing should have a chance to remove their name from the petition. Deception is not democracy. If Dakotans for Health has to lie about what their petition is, chances are they know it’s too radical and unappealing to be passed on its face.

Know someone who would like to remove their name?

Visit www.TakeOffMyName.com