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Spellerberg Court Ruling Favors City Of Sioux Falls

April 7, 2014, 9:55 PM by Jared Ransom

Spellerberg Court Ruling Favors City Of Sioux Falls

It was a day in court that could've had significant impact on Tuesday's Sioux Falls city elections, but ultimately, the judge's ruling about a date discrepancy on the ballot means Election Day will go on as planned.

"In 20 years of legal practice, I've learned you never take anything for granted, and you just present your arguments and authorities the best you can. I was confident, but there are never any guarantees," Sioux Falls City Attorney David Pfeifle said.

The Save Spellerberg group said that on the collected petitions for a new outdoor pool, the date of completion was December 31, 2015 but the ballot says December 15.  The impact of that two week difference was argued in court, but Judge Susan Sabers sided with the City, saying it won't impact how voters interpret the measure.

"I think the result of this is that it shows, certainly, a faith and confidence in the voters that they can understand the question on Initiated Measure 2, that a simple typographical error won't stand in the way," Pfeifle said.

Attorney Joel Arends, who represented Save Spellerberg, says Monday's proceeding is the perfect example of the right people have to challenge any wrong-doings they may notice.

"Today, average, ordinary citizens had the opportunity to take their government on in a court of law. It didn't turn out the way that we wanted it to, but we respect the judge's ruling," Arends said.

He also points out that the voters deserve perfection when it comes to elections, even when dealing with a typographical error.

"I think the City of Sioux Falls is on notice now that people aren't just going to take these things lying down. They're going to take to the courts, they're going to take to the media and say 'Look folks, we expect more,'" Arends said.

Pfeifle said that if Judge Sabers had ruled in favor of the Save Spellerberg group, the City was prepared to re-print every ballot before voting centers open on Tuesday, but that it would cost the City an estimated $60,000 to do so.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
A misspelling was corrected in this story.

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