Football Players|In the Soup in N. Dak.

     BISMARCK, N.D. (CN) – North Dakota officials tossed two ballot measures from the November ballot and charged 11 signature-gatherers with voter fraud – including eight North Dakota State football players.
     Tossed from the general election ballot were a proposed constitutional initiative to establish a Clean Water, Lands and Outdoor Heritage Fund, and the statutory initiative for medical marijuana, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem’s office said in a statement.
     The Forum newspaper, of Fargo-Moorhead, reported that eight of the defendants are football players at North Dakota State.
     The charge is a Class A misdemeanor.
     Charged with filing false statements or facilitation of voter fraud were Aireal Boyd, Josh Colville, Josh Gatlin, Demetrius Grey, Jennifer Krahn, Lane O’Brien, Samuel Ojuri, Brendin Pierre, Antonio Rodgers, Bryan Shepherd and Marcus Williams, the attorney general said.
     A review of signatures on the petitions raised suspicions, resulting in a criminal investigation that revealed forged signatures, either by taking names from a telephone directory, cell phone contact lists or simply making up names, according to the attorney generals statement.
     The fictitious signatures reduced the number of valid signatures below the amount needed for the measures to be placed on the ballot.
     “For the constitutional clean water measure, more than 26,904 signatures are required. Of the 37,785 signatures submitted, more than 17,034 were deemed invalid, leaving the measure 7,938 signatures short,” prosecutors said in the statement.
     “For the statutory medical marijuana measure, 13,452 signatures are necessary. Of the 20,092 signatures submitted, only 12,533 were determined to be valid, leaving the committee more than 900 signatures short.”
     NDSU head coach Craig Bohl told the Forum on Tuesday that all eight players will have their day in court. No suspensions have been announced and all eight players will travel with the team to Fort Collins, Colo., for a game against Colorado State.
     If convicted, they face up to 1 year in state prison and a fine of $2,000.

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