The signatures are in, but Walmart could challenge a group's effort to bring the debate over a new store to Sioux Falls voters. Members of Save Our Neighborhood turned in 6,352 petition signatures, hoping to put the decision to re-zone land for a new Walmart near 85th and Minnesota to a public vote.
While workers at the City Clerk's office review the paperwork, Walmart officials are also keeping a close eye on the documents. City Clerk Lorie Hogstad said the process is a little more involved than just dotting the i's and crossing the t's.
"That does take some time," Hogstad said.
For her part, Hogstad and her employees must make sure every signature is notarized and valid. The devil is in the details, as they have to look at whether or not the signature is legible, and if the documents have all of the information.
"It's a great part of the process that the citizens have this opportunity, but you know there is some emphasis on the point of making sure you get some qualified voters to to sign and the information is correct," Hogstad said.
Save Our Neighborhood Spokesperson Dana Palmer said the group turned in about 1,200 more signatures than needed. Walmart officials are inspecting the documents for any invalid signatures or deficiencies, such as a signature from an unregistered voter.
"I would assume they'd be taking a close look and letting me know one way or the other on Monday, whether they are going to officially challenge," Hogstad said
"They're a $450 billion company. They have all of the time and the resources in the world to do exactly what they're doing," Palmer said.
According to a statement from Walmart spokesperson Delia Garcia, ""We are really pleased that the city provides a process and opportunity for people to do their own due diligence and review petitions. We are taking that opportunity and carefully reviewing what has been submitted."
"We just hope they realize when these citizens signed these petitions. They did so, because they were in favor of allowing citizens of Sioux Falls to vote on zoning at that location," Palmer said.
Walmart has until Monday to get back to Hogstad with any concerns. If there are enough signatures, this will go to the Sioux Falls City Council, which could refer the issue to a public vote in April.