Bob Mercer faintly exaggerates the “long slide” of Democratic voter registration in South Dakota. We’re not surging, but according to the March 1 voter count from Secretary of State Shantel Krebs, we have 1.86% more voters than we did one year ago. Of course, over the same March to March, Republicans have 6.19% more voters, and indies have 10.57% more.
Mercer does get right the story that we stagnant Dems stirred a proper kerfuffle yesterday about the Governor’s illegal appointments to the Board of Regents:
As of 2:00 p.m. CST on March 6, 2017, Board of Regents members Harvey Jewett, Kathryn Johnson, Jim Morgan, Randy Schaefer, Bob Sutton, and Kevin Schieffer were registered Republicans, and John Bastian was a registered Independent. The appointees whose nominations were to be considered by the Senate today, Pam Roberts and Conrad Adam, were both registered Republicans. Terry Baloun and Joseph Schartz, the Board of Regents members Roberts and Adams would replace were both also registered Republicans [South Dakota Democratic Party, press release, 2017.03.06].
The Senate had to call off their confirmation vote for Roberts and Adam because SDCL 13-49-2 says you can’t have more than six Regents from the same political party. As a bonus, that statute also forbids having two regents from the same county, and appointees Roberts and Adam are both registered to vote in Hughes County.
Democrats naturally see these illegal appointments as part of a broader Republican arrogance:
South Dakota Republicans seem to think they are above the law, whether it be repealing voter-backed measures months after being supported at the ballot box or by stacking state boards with Republicans in violation of state law [SDDP, 2017.03.06].
Mercer more gently notes the merits of a functioning two-party system:
The system worked in this instance. The minority party pointed out an abuse favoring the majority party. The Senate used its confirmation authority to block two illegal appointments by the governor. It’s a good example of why two relevant political parties are important and why process matters [Bob Mercer, “On Regents Matter, Democrats Show Why Two Political Parties Are Important,” Pure Pierre Politics, 2017.03.07].
The Senate bumped the Roberts and Adam nominations to today’s calendar. According to Mercer, the Governor’s office is contending that the residency requirement doesn’t apply to the student Regent for which Adam is nominated. The Governor’s office also reports that Regent Kathryn Johnson was a Democrat when appointed a decade ago, switched to GOP last year, and switched back yesterday afternoon when this complication came to light.