Jackley Explains Referred Law 19, Misses Key Points

Attorney General Marty Jackley published his explanation of Referred Law 19 yesterday. Referred Law 19, originally Senate Bill 69 from the 2015 Session, is the odious Incumbent Protection Plan, in which Republican legislators hijacked some reforms proposed by the Board of Elections and tried to make it harder for regular folks to run for office by increasing the petition signatures necessary to run for office and banning registered party members (80% of the electorate!) from signing Independent candidate petitions.

A.G. Jackley’s explanation isn’t nearly as clear as mine, but then he’s limited to 200 words. Here’s his text:

Currently, primary election candidates for certain offices must circulate and submit nominating petitions between January 1 and the last Tuesday in March. Referred Law 19 changes that timeframe to between December 1 and the first Tuesday in March. The referred law also changes other election-related submission deadlines, adjusting them from the last Tuesday in March to the first Tuesday in March.

Certain election-related documents, including nominating petitions, are currently considered timely submitted is sent by registered mail before the deadline. The referred law changes this to require that these documents be received by the submission deadline. It also changes the method for calculating the number of signatures on nominating petitions for certain elective offices.

The referred law prohibits a person registered with a recognized political party from signing an independent candidate’s nominating petition. The current law does not contain that prohibition.

Under the referred law, an independent governor candidate cannot appear on the ballot if the corresponding lieutenant governor candidate withdraws and a replacement is not certified by the second Tuesday in August. It also restricts the circumstances under which a political party may replace a candidate who has withdrawn from consideration after the primary election.

A vote “yes” is for revising State laws regarding elections and election petitions.

A vote “No” is against the referred law [Attorney General Marty Jackley, Referred Law 19 explanation, 2016.05.11].

That provision about independent gubernatorial candidates in Section 8 of 2015 SB 69 had escaped my attention. It seems odd that A.G. Jackley would dedicate 32 of his 200 words to this minor provision while ignoring other provisions like the restrictive movement of the deadline for submitting nominating petitions for special Congressional elections from 45 to 65 days prior to the vote (Section 3) and the requirement that independent sheriff candidates submit their petitions by the last Tuesday of April instead of the first Tuesday after the first Monday in June (Section 11). The A.G. might have better used those 32 words to give more detail about the provisions that have a broader effect, like explaining that the method for calculating the required number of signatures on petitions for elective offices will require partisan candidates to collect more signatures.

The A.G. could also have taken a moment to explain, as he has on other ballot measures (see Initiated Measure 22), that portions of Referred Law 19 may be unconstitutional: 2015 SB 69 has already provoked a court challenge to the earlier deadline for new parties to file petitions for recognition, and the provision banning Republicans and Democrats from signing Independent petitions was struck down by a federal court in Campbell v. Hull (1999).

I won’t be too hard on Marty; Republican legislators created a monstrosity that’s hard to explain objectively and fully in 200 words. But here’s the version I’ll give you on the campaign trail:

Referred Law 19 protects incumbents by making it harder for regular folks to run for office. It makes candidates circulate petitions over Christmas and submit petitions before the Legislative Session is done. It makes Republicans and Democrats scramble for more signatures. It takes away the right of four out of five South Dakotans to sign for Independent candidates. We should make it easier, not harder to run for office. Vote Referred Law 19 down.

74 words. Not bad.

9 Responses to Jackley Explains Referred Law 19, Misses Key Points

  1. Robin Friday

    Typical Republican voter suppression. Same song, different verse.

  2. Robin Friday

    Our incumbents don’t need to be protected. They need to be culled.

  3. Vote this crap down.

    @Robin This is NOT Republicanism.

  4. we will.

  5. drey samuelson

    Cory: With all due respect to the Attorney General (whom I believe has done an admirable job on the other initiative explanations I’ve looked at), your concise and clear explanation on this issue is far superior to his, and should be broadcast far and wide before folks vote. How to do that is the trick, but it needs to be done…

  6. drey samuelson

    Cory–one other thing: it’s worth noting that passage of Amendment V would make the outcome of this vote totally moot, right? Independent candidates would be treated the same exact way as Republican or Democratic candidates, as candidates won’t run in party primaries. Yet another reason to support Amendment V–we kill two birds with one stone! ;-)

  7. Thanks, Drey! I suppose the way to broadcast that explanation far and wide would be to kick my ballot question committee into gear, raise about $50,000, and insert that explanation in every newspaper in the state.

    Interesting point about Amendment V negating the Indy disadvantage. Section 7 of Amendment V should strike different signature requirements for Indies and party members. However, let’s check that language:

    The signature requirements established shall be based on the total votes cast for that office in the previous general election and shall be the same for all candidates for that office, regardless of party affiliation or lack of party affiliation.

    Could anti-Indy legislators read that clause to say that they could pass a law requiring every candidate to collect signatures from, say, 1% of voters with the same registration as him/herself? “Regardless” seems to forbid that, but I want to test the limits of the interpretation, because I could imagine someone saying, “No matter what party or lack of party, you have to get 1% of the signatures of people of your party affiliation.” That’s the thinking Republcian legislators used to justify SB 69, saying (speciously) it treats Indies the same as party members.

  8. Kim Wright

    Referred Law 19 is a ridiculous law for many reasons….Jackley (not the name I use when referring to him) has a great disregard for Independent candidates and voters. Even though passing Amendment V will make this a mute issue…voting NO on Referred Law 19 will send a clear message to the incumbents who repeatedly amended SB69 to guarantee that Independents would be prohibited from running for office.

  9. And Kim, since there’s no guarantee that Amendment V will pass (the SDGOP officially opposes it; even though the SDDP has not taken a position, many individual Democrats oppose it), we still have to pay attention to RL 19 and make sure we vote it down.