Referred Law 19: Incumbent Protection Plan

Referred Law 19 was originally Senate Bill 69, passed by the South Dakota Legislature and signed into law by Governor Dennis Daugaard in March 2015. This proposal started as a proposal from the Board of Elections and Secretary of State to give citizens more time to challenge questionable candidate petitions. Unfortunately, Republicans in the Legislature piled on amendments that essentially protect incumbents by making it harder for regular folks to run for office. I started a petition drive to refer this law to a public vote, and enough South Dakota voters signed my petition to stop this law from taking effect and put it on the 2016 ballot.

Key Provisions:

  1. Party candidates for most offices currently circulate their nominating petitions starting January 1 and must submit by the last Tuesday of March. RL 19 moves that window back a month: candidates start December 1 and must submit by the first Tuesday of March.
  2. RL 19 increases the number of signatures most party candidates have to collect on their petitions to qualify for the ballot.
  3. RL 19 reduces the number of signatures Independent candidates need to collect to get on the ballot, but it prohibits Republicans, Democrats, and other party members from signing Independent petitions.

Click for Full Text: Senate Bill 69, “An Act to revise certain provisions regarding elections and election petitions.”

See also my detailed explanation of Referred Law 19/Senate Bill 69 here: C.A. Heidelberger, “Petition and Placeholder Changes: The Reliable Guide to Senate Bill 69,” Dakota Free Press, 2015.03.17.

Read Attorney General Marty Jackley’s explanation of Referred Law 19.

Related Articles:

  1. John Tsitrian, “Referred Law Restricts Voter Freedom,” Rapid City Journal, 2016.08.31.
  2. Lee Strubinger, “Referred Law 19’s Intent Is to Clarify Election Petitioning Process,” SDPB Radio, 2016.08.15.
  3. Ken Santema, “A Look at Referred Law 19, Revising Elections and Election Petitions,” SoDakLiberty, 2016.08.08.
  4. Dakota Free Press coverage of Referred Law 19
  5. Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce RL 19 issue brief


Comments are closed.