Protect Voting Rights and Labor Protections: Help Buy the Statewide Voter File!

RL19-20donateSouth Dakota, well done! We got two measures—Referred Law 19 (petition reform) and Referred Law 20 (youth minimum wage)—on the ballot. We have stopped these two bad laws from taking effect and given voters the chance to kill both laws for good in the 2016 general election.

Now we need to raise money to get out the NO vote in 2016.

To get out that vote, I’d like to get the statewide voter file. The Secretary of State’s office charges $2,500 for the electronic version of that file. (The paper version is $5,500, but can anyone give me one good reason to spend $3,000 more for a less useful product?)

With that statewide voter file, we can make canvassing and mailing lists that will help us more effectively reach likely voters. For example, painting with the broadest brush:

  • Among its numerous and complicated provisions, Referred Law 19, the petition reform turned “make it hard to run for office” bill, takes away the right of Democrats and Republicans to nominate Independent candidates. That prohibition makes it practically impossible for Independents to make the ballot. From the statewide voter file, we can create an Independent subset and alert them to Referred Law 19’s threat to their specific interests.
  • Referred Law 20, the youth minimum wage, is an insult to all voters, but it is probably most galling to Democratic voters who worked hard to put the minimum wage on the 2014 ballot and pass it. With the statewide voter file, we can pick out those voters and remind them what’s at stake.

As I said while circulating, there are plenty of reasons for people of every political stripe to vote against Referred Law 19 and Referred Law 20. The statewide voter file would help us focus our discussions on the specific reasons that are most important to specific voters.

If you’d like to help beat the petition reform law and the youth minimum wage, write a check or two to the ballot question committees for those two measures:

To fight Referred Law 19,
petition reform:
South Dakotans for Fair Elections
912 N. 1st St.
Aberdeen, SD 57401
To fight Referred Law 20,
youth minimum wage:
SD Voice
912 N. 1st St.
Aberdeen, SD 57401

(And yeah, one of these days, I’ll get uptown and make some online donation buttons for these committees!)

I don’t like asking for money. I want to believe that we can achieve all of our important political goals through spontaneous, organic citizen action. But we know better. We’ll need cash to get our message out. We’ll need cash to fight our opponents’ propaganda. We’ll need cash to fight whatever tricks the folks who want to take away voting rights and labor protections may have up their sleeves to snarl these ballot measures during the 2016 Legislative Session.

Buying the statewide voter file is the first thing we need to do to make sure South Dakotans get the facts and vote NO on Referred Law 19 and Referred Law 20. Your contributions will help us do that. Thank you.


12 Responses to Protect Voting Rights and Labor Protections: Help Buy the Statewide Voter File!

  1. Roger Elgersma

    I know that there are lots of group lists to make campaigning cheaper and to not send letters to the direct opposition. But these are rather universal issues. Not sure what mailing costs are and I know they are not cheap, but I have found while helping in mailings that there are bulk rates if you send a whole box full to one post office. When is the rate to send one to everyone. Would all voters feel included. This could save the cost of the lists. This minimum wage thing is something that affect younger voters who have never voted before. If we could get them involved rather than forget them because they are not in a group would also be good. Only risk is that mail to current resident is a turnoff.

  2. Roger Elgersma

    What is the rate, not when

  3. Liberty Dick

    Why does an electronic copy cost so much? I mean really what’s the cost incurred by a single state employee shooting you an email?

  4. You should pledge to limit the amount of donation you’ll take from any single person at some number, like $5 or whatever. Otherwise, some big money interest will just buy you out in one fell swoop and then they will own you, Mr. H. This is how it starts…I’m just sayin…

  5. Jon Holmdal

    I think it would be important to have the list—but why does it cost that much?? Stupid question—they really don’t want you to have it–like they don’t want the public to have a say in what they do behind closed doors–is there a way to just have them hand it over to you –with an “of course” we are so happy to have the citizens of our state participate with us in making it the best state that it can be! I read the transcripts of certain commissions of the state–too often I see “going into executive session” and amendments that are voted on and no explanation of what the amendments were!

  6. Access to the voter list through NGP VAN or Nation Builder from the DNC to your state party: $0.00.

    DNC has been updating voter files regularly. It contains all registered voters.

  7. its 2500 and its the most recent and up to date information the state has. ive found other sources are not so up to date in some instances 7 years or more out of date. Having an up to date list is essential in auditing other petitions and mailing lists. its worth the 2500. I would suggest setting up a gofund me to get the money for this, and for other costs certain to arouse from this.

  8. Taunia, will the state party provide access to that list to ballot question committees?

  9. Grudz, don’t be dense. In a campaign against big money interests, one does not unilaterally disarm. We’re not here to make a statement about campaign finance; we’re here to defeat the youth minimum wage and the petition reform bill.

    Besides, Grudz, no one buys me out.

  10. Jon, you do have a point. I understand that there are costs for compiling voter data, but those costs ought to be born by taxes. The state should make the voter database available for public use for no charge or minimal charge, not for an amount that restricts access to well-funded organizations.

    But until that reform comes about, my ballot committees will have to become well-funded organizations. :-)

  11. LibDick, that’s a fair question. On the one hand, yeah, you’d think sending an e-mail costs nothing, maybe a few pennies of staff time (and again, why should government have to be fee for service?). But I think the file may be too big to e-mail; so they at least have to prepare a disk… although there again, that’s not huge production costs.

    If there is a fee argument, it’s that users of the database are helping defray the ongoing cost of its updating and maintenance. The fee’s more important use may be to prevent casual and perhaps annoying use of the voter information… although why we restrict such use only to rich people is beyond me.

    The voter database is partially connected to the Web: we can use the Voter Information Portal to look up any individual’s voter registration, as long as we know that person’s name and birthdate. That limited, one-record-at-a-time access to the voter database is free; it wouldn’t be a costly step to add a broader query option to that same technology.

  12. Kim Wright

    Cory,
    Will the list have not only the voter names & addresses but also party affiliation, including Independent?…..