Guest Column: Newland Describes Krebs Deposition in Ballot Access Lawsuit

The Libertarian and Constitution parties of South Dakota are still suing South Dakota over its burdensome ballot access laws for new political parties. Former Libertarian leader Bob Newland sends his observations on a deposition taken Wednesday of the enforcer of those objectionable ballot access laws, Secretary of State Shantel Krebs:

Secretary of State Shantel Krebs explains to Rep. Al Novstrup and other Aberdonians how she gets things done in her office. Aberdeen, South Dakota, 2015.11.12.
Krebs: Don’t worry, Al—I’ll protect you from Libertarians and other candidates with principles.

Yesterday, May 3, I had the distinctly unpleasant experience of sitting through a deposition of SoDak Secretary of State Shantel Krebs taken by ACLU Board Member Steven Pevar. On behalf of the SoDak Libertarian and Constitution Parties and me as a private citizen, the ACLU sued AG Marty Jackleg and SOS Krebs, alleging onerous enforcement of requirements for alternative political parties to attain ballot status in South Dakota.

Krebs described one of the mandates of the SOS as “to ensure fairness in all aspects of the election process.” When asked, for example, how shortening the period during which candidates for office may circulate a nominating petition (a change she endorsed in the legislature), she refused to answer, saying “I have no opinion.”

When asked why it was “fair” to have a candidate for lieutenant-governor or the secretary of state or the attorney general nominated in party conventions, while the gubernatorial candidate must submit to a primary election contest, she again demurred to answer.

For more than five hours, we sat in a room which she insisted had to be 80 degrees (“I am so cold.”) while she exhibited hostility and anger at the imposition of having to defend her politics and actions.


Expect to see Federal Judge Karen Schreier issue a ruling without a trial that will force the legislature to change the laws, which she has already characterized as “onerously restrictive” regarding requirements to put people on the ballot [Bob Newland, e-mail to Dakota Free Press, 2017.05.04].

Newland certainly has a dog in this fight, so I would like to read the deposition itself before passing any judgment on Krebs’s performance Wednesday before a lawyer pressing a lawsuit against her office. I will say, however, that in general, a Secretary of State (or any smart Democrat planning to campaign for the job of chief election officer that Krebs wants to leave so she can go to Congress) should support laws and policies that make it easier, not harder, for citizens to organize parties and run for office. Requiring a new party to organize by the last Tuesday in March, before the dust has even settled from the Legislative Session, before the major parties have made clear what candidates they are nominating for major office, is an unnecessarily oppressive and unconstitutional restriction on the right of minor parties to challenge the failures of dominant parties.

Related: We may need Judge Schreier to make it easier for new parties to get on the ballot, but at least the 2017 Legislature made it easier for new parties to stay on the ballot. Remember that House Bill 1034, signed by Governor Dennis Daugaard in March, included in its many election-related minutiae Section 7, which changes the standard for keeping political party status from the party’s gubernatorial candidate winning 2.5% of the popular vote in the general election to any statewide candidate from that party achieving the same percentage of the vote.

*Update 2017.08.15 18:44 CDT: I have edited this columnist’s text at his request.

8 Responses to Guest Column: Newland Describes Krebs Deposition in Ballot Access Lawsuit

  1. My friend Bob is still a leader of the Libertarians, oh yes indeed, he just leads through example and secret meetings he holds with the Liberati he encounters in his wanderings as a corporate narc.

    I wonder why Ms. Krebs is cold at a nice room temperature of 80? That’s just right, so maybe it was all a game of minds she was playing. Now I cannot agree with this Mr. Pevar, for he is an ACLUer, but should Bob prevail I would expect a good swell of candidates for that party and if they would just get off the demon weed plank I could see myself joining up with some of them. I was a huge Johnson supporter, you know, during the presidential campaigns.

  2. Bob Newland

    Of course only the coward POS grudznick would chime in.

  3. I got yer back on this, Bob.

  4. One thing is for certain, krebs has tried to fool people into thinking that she is a reasonable non political player regarding her position, she is not. The heat in the room metaphorically shows that she is really just another cold blooded politico that can only function with artificial energy. krebs proves the point that she cannot be in the sunlight of honesty and transparency. For Democracy to work, it needs to have full involvement with all citizens, regardless of party. I wonder why krebs and company fear others so much in the political arena that they would deny them the same full access as they have. Here is another good example of how the SDDP could step up and support open ballot access for all.

  5. Bob Newland

    Like I need a coward with the writing skills of a second grader covering my back.

  6. barry freed

    Not much for us to say. I fear an overload of fascism has us numb to their many fears and agendas.

    But, Having worked as a short order cook in High School and College, I never saw anyone spit in food, though it is a common enough joke and some have claimed to have done it. I imagine a cook at Talley’s, trying to survive on a cook’s pay, hears the blowhard in the dining room talking loudly so everyone in the place must listen to his lofty, Trumpy thoughts, and his Taters and Gravy could come from the kitchen with a special texture and flavor. It can be dangerous to tell your cook he doesn’t deserve affordable healthcare or a choice of candidates.

  7. Sigh. I am entirely uninterested in the personal back-and-forth.

    The playground spat has nothing to do with the merits of moving back the deadline for new parties to organize. If folks really believe the two parties are not responding the real needs and wants of the voters, then let’s give new parties as much opportunity as possible to challenge the system. Competition is good, and the state’s chief election officer should encourage electoral competition and participation.

  8. Bob Newland

    Sigh, indeed. Cory, you publish the comments, utterly devoid of useful content, of a cowardly fool who has not once contributed to a conversation and whose only apparent intent is to disrupt and annoy, then complain when folks call him out. Siiiiigh.