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Sorum v. Dalrymple

Supreme Court of North Dakota

December 18, 2014

Paul J. Sorum, 2012 Independent Candidate for Governor of North Dakota, Petitioner and Appellant
v.
Jack Dalrymple, Governor of North Dakota and Drew Wrigley, Lt. Governor of North Dakota and Ryan Taylor, 2012 Dem. Candidate for Governor of ND and Ellen Chaffee, 2012 Dem. Candidate for Lt. Governor of ND and Al Jaeger, North Dakota Secretary of State, Respondents Jack Dalrymple, Governor of North Dakota and Drew Wrigley, Lt. Governor of North Dakota and Al Jaeger, North Dakota Secretary of State, Respondents and Appellees

Page 97

Appeal from the District Court of Burleigh County, South Central Judicial District, the Honorable Donald L. Jorgensen, Judge.

AFFIRMED.

Paul. J. Sorum, self-represented, Bismarck, N.D., petitioner and appellant.

Douglas A. Bahr, Office of Attorney General, Bismarck, N.D., for respondents and appellees.

Dale V. Sandstrom, Acting C.J., Daniel J. Crothers, Lisa Fair McEvers, Carol Ronning Kapsner. Opinion of the Court by Sandstrom, Acting Chief Justice. The Honorable Gerald W. VandeWalle, Chief Justice, disqualified himself subsequent to oral argument and did not participate in this decision.

OPINION

Page 98

Sandstrom, Acting Chief Justice.

[¶1] Paul Sorum appeals from a district court order denying his January 22, 2014, petition for a writ of mandamus. The petition requested an order compelling Governor Jack Dalrymple and Secretary of State Al Jaeger to execute and enforce North Dakota's election laws by removing the Democratic-NPL and Republican party candidates for governor and lieutenant governor from the 2012 November general election ballot because of improper certification of endorsement by the Secretary of State's office. The writ also sought to invalidate the election results for those offices and certify the election results after disqualifying all ballots made in support of the removed candidates. We affirm.

I

[¶2] This case stems from, and raises similar issues to, Riemers v. Jaeger, 2013 ND 30, 827 N.W.2d 330. Sorum and Michael Coachman were independent candidates for governor and lieutenant governor in the 2012 North Dakota general election. Dalrymple and Drew Wrigley were the Republican party candidates, and Ryan Taylor and Ellen Chaffee were the Democratic-NPL party candidates in that election. Roland Riemers originally filed for that election as the Libertarian party candidate.

[¶3] Richard Ames, Riemers' lieutenant governor candidate and running mate, failed to file a statement-of-interests signature page required to be listed on the primary ballot, and was not listed with Riemers. After the primary, the Secretary of State requested an opinion from the Attorney General reviewing whether Riemers was properly nominated in the primary election. The Attorney General's opinion held state law requires a gubernatorial petition or certification to contain the names and ancillary information of both candidates for office, and the lack of a lieutenant governor candidate prevented Riemers' nomination as a gubernatorial candidate. See N.D. Att'y Gen. Op. 2012-L-07.

[¶4] The Secretary of State removed Riemers as the Libertarian candidate from the 2012 general election ballot. The other candidates were listed on the ballot. On August 30, 2012, Riemers petitioned for a writ of mandamus to remove the Republican and Democratic-NPL party candidates from the ballot because of their improper certification or, alternatively, to list him as the Libertarian candidate. The petition was denied. On appeal, we affirmed the denial because Riemers failed to present all the certificates of endorsement of the Democratic-NPL and Republican gubernatorial candidates, and failed to demonstrate a clear legal right to relief. Riemers, 2013 ND 30, ¶ ¶ 16-1 7, 827 N.W.2d 330.

[¶5] In January 2014, Sorum petitioned the district court for a writ of mandamus under a similar legal argument advanced in Riemers. As we previously noted, the petition requested that the court remove the Democratic-NPL and Republican party gubernatorial candidates from the 2012 primary and general election ballots, or otherwise declare their candidacy invalid, eliminate all ballots cast for those candidates, and recalculate the results ...


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