Represent SD Has 59% of Signatures Necessary to Put IM22-Redux on Ballot

In an unusual announcement for a ballot question committee, Represent South Dakota says that, as of August 12, it had collected 16,484 petition signatures, over 59% of the 27,741 signatures it needs to place a revised form of last year’s Initiated Measure 22 on the 2018 ballot as a constitutional amendment.

Usually ballot question committees keep signature counts mum, limiting public comment on totals to, “We’re getting lots, but we need more, so circulators, keep pushing!” Represent SD must be feeling pretty confident that voters and circulators will put their petition well over the signature threshold by November 6. In a press release, ballot question co-chair Mitch Richter says, “The repeal of Initiated Measure 22 has not been forgotten…. South Dakotans are eager to vote on this strong anti-corruption and voter protection measure.”

Remember, the South Dakota Voter Protection and Anti-Corruption Amendment would write many of the campaign finance limits, and lobbying rules that voters approved last year into the state constitution, where the Legislature would not be able to repeal them as they repealed Initiated Measure 22 last winter. The SDVPACA nullifies the State Government Accountability Board the Legislature offered to mollify enraged voters last winter and replaces it with the stronger state ethics commission IM22 would have created. The SDVPACA does not include “Democracy Credits,” the public campaign financing system we approved in IM22. The SDVPACA goes beyond IM22 in protecting the initiative process from Legislative interference by requiring changes to initiated laws or the requirements for placing measures on the ballot to be approved by public vote, locking the vote threshold for passing initiatives and referenda at simple majority, and enacting voter-approved measures 60 days after the election.

If those sound like reasonable changes to you, check out Represent SD’s list of petition-pickup and signing events around South Dakota.

10 Responses to Represent SD Has 59% of Signatures Necessary to Put IM22-Redux on Ballot

  1. If Pat Powers and commenters on his blog are correct, it looks like ballot signature are being gathered illegally, but that nothing can effectively be done about it.

    I like the advice that anyone approached to sign a petition in SD should ask to see the South Dakota drivers license of the circulator, since only SD residents can circulate petitions.

    As part of petition protection, Cory’s right about the need for ballot circulators to be physically present when petitions are signed. It’s also important that petition circulators and the people who employ them follow state law in other areas – like residency requirements – as well.

  2. I agree completely, and if someone can document such illegal petition practices, as I did with my in-person visit and photos of the Mickelson booth last night, that evidence should be brought forward and the petitioners appropriately punished. Petitions deserve serious protection and strictly legal circulation practices.

    However, given DWC’s past reliance on rumor and innuendo, I must note that the SDGOP spin blog’s posts on Represent SD’s petition today have been based entirely on anecdote and a photo of a recruiting poster that, while distasteful given the hiring of a Nevada company instead of local grassroots activists, does not indicate any illegal activity. Get me a photo of the circulators, a video of the circulators not answering questions, definite ID an out-of-stater holding a petition and asking for signatures.

  3. Darrell Solberg

    No wonder Pat Powers is trying to stir up trouble with innuendos, as he and his party don’t want anything that provides the voters of S.D. transparency in state government and Independent Investigators or Investigations. That may divulge more information than they want the public to know. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely!!!

  4. …and Powers is absolutely corrupt. ;-)

  5. Donald Pay

    Petition circulators are not required to have a SD Driver License. They are required to be a South Dakota resident, and, I believe, a registered voter. A South Dakota Driver License does not prove residency, it proves that at one time you applied for and received a Driver License in South Dakota allowing you to legally drive.

    I don’t provide an ID to anyone without a valid reason. Some Joe Schmoe on the street ain’t seeing it for any trumped up reason. Demanding an ID from a petition circulator amounts to harassment.

    Twenty some years ago I had a solution to the problem that Pat Powers alludes to, because, as PP knows, the vast majority of illegal petitioning comes from candidate petitions. The Bosworth fraud was considered normal Republican candidate petitioning for decades,

    Here’s the solution. The SOS can have a little petition circulating training module on the SOS website. You could probably cover all the points needed in about an hour showing how to properly collect signatures, and demonstrations of what is illegal or improper. You complete the module, take a little test, pay $5 if you’re a volunteer circulatory or $35 if you are a paid circulator, fill out your name and address. You then get an official circulator badge that identifies you as an official circulator, either volunteer or paid circulator. There you go. Now you know everything you need to know about your circulator on file at the SOS office

    Unlike all the unnecessary bureaucratic BS associated with an actual initiative, this would protect the actual petitioning process and it would pertain to anyone who circulates an official petition, candidate or ballot question.

    Now, I suspect you can’t keep anyone not so educated and vetted from circulating a petition, but they won’t have the SOS badge of honor.

  6. Donald:

    Under your proposal, I’m assuming that one would need to prove SD residency (and perhaps voter registration) to the SOS as a prerequisite to taking the test and receiving the badge.

    Since such a system is not in place, how can a voter assess whether a circulator is eligible to circulate petitions? If I can’t know that, how do I know that my signature will be considered valid?

  7. SOS certification—not a bad idea, especially if it serves as a way to verify South Dakota residency. I wouldn’t want to make it mandatory—we should be able to recruit new circulators on the spot, hand them petition sheets and let them get to work. But the SOS certificate would provide a quick way to identify legitimate circulators.

    I share Donald’s hesitance about having to respond to any honyocker’s demand for “Papers, please!” It does smell of vigilante authoritarianism. However, Michael’s comment helps remind us that we aren’t talking about a random public interaction. We’re talking about an individual engaged in a specific public, legal function. That individual is asking for my identifying information to place a measure on the ballot. Doesn’t a person in the street like Michael, asked to hand over that information have as much of a right/duty to ask for ID as a private store/bar owner has to ask for ID when asked to hand over alcohol?

  8. Donald Pay

    Michael/Cory: Everyone’s voter registration is publicly available, and would certainly be available to the SOS. You don’t have to be much of a resident to vote in SD, by the way, and it doesn’t require a Driver License. A circulator is eligible to circulate a petition based on current law, such as it is. You don’t like it, don’t sign, or find someone you know who is circulating the petition, which is why I think it is better to sign truly grassroots efforts, not the billionaire supported efforts.

    My idea would tighten up circulator requirements a bit, making an hour of training and a little badge necessary to circulate. I’d swap that out for all the unnecessary upfront bureaucracy the currently pertains to getting a petition ready to circulate. I don’t believe in the “scrap the drunks off the sidewalk and give them a click board” approach to circulating.

  9. I’m willing to bet that I know exactly of who the huppla is all about and can assure you that they have been well versed in the correct and legal procedure for taking petition signatures. They are life long residents of the state and registered voters but have an out of state mailing address. A situation that is COMMON along our borders.


  10. Clyde, I just registered a new voter with one of those straddler addresses. it would be amusing to get your border-straddling circulator on the record (complete with an itinerary of where she/he will be circulating and an invitation to signers) to defuse the thus far purely third-hand anecdotal and unsubstantiated allegations of illegal behavior.