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Indy Filing Deadline Remains Last Tuesday in April; GOP Blog Misreads SB 69

Dakota War College flunks again, misreading the law in his zeal to squash Independent challengers to his Republican patrons and thus misinforming the public.

The GOP spin blog pretends to offer a practical guide to the implications of Senate Bill 69, the petition reform bill that awaits the Governor’s signature. If enacted, the bill will wreak many forms of havoc on voting rights and ballot access. It will not, however, move the filing deadline for Independent candidates from the last Tuesday in April.

Pat Powers offers this misreading of Section 3 of SB 69:

Dakota War College can't read (screen cap, 2015.03.15 19:50 CDT)
Dakota War College can’t read (screen cap, 2015.03.15 19:50 CDT)

Powers says SB 69 is placing Independents “on a level playing field with party candidates” by changing their filing deadline from the last Tuesday in April to the first Tuesday in March. Powers is wrong. Let’s read Section 3 in full:

Section 3. That § 12-11-3 be amended to read as follows:

12-11-3. Each party nomination and independent petition shall be filed with the secretary of state received in the Office of the Secretary of State not less than forty-five sixty-five days preceding any election which that is not combined with a primary or general election. If the election is conducted with a primary election, each party nomination and independent petition shall be filed received by the last first Tuesday in March. Each nomination shall be certified in a like manner as any other nomination for the purpose of a general election. The election shall be conducted, canvassed, and the results certified as in a general election. If the election is conducted with a general election, each party nomination and independent petition shall be filed received by the second Tuesday in August [Senate Bill 69, final form approved by conference committee, 2015.03.13].

Notice those numbers at the beginning of Section 3? They refer to SDCL 12-11-3, which appears under South Dakota’s chapter on special congressional elections. The statute 12-11-3 amends deals only with special congressional elections, in which Independents and party candidates already have the same filing deadline. It sets deadlines based on whether the special election is being conducted in conjunction with a primary election or a general election.

For normal elections, SDCL 12-7-1 sets the deadline for submitting Independent nominating petitions on the last Tuesday in April. Senate Bill 69 does not change that deadline. It says so, in Section 8:

Section 8. That § 12-7-1 be amended to read as follows:

12-7-1. Any candidate for nonjudicial public office, except as provided in § 12-7-7, who is not nominated by a primary election may be nominated by filing submitting with the secretary of state or county auditor as prescribed bypursuant to § 12-6-4, not prior to January December first at 8:00 a.m. of the year preceding the election and not later than the last Tuesday of April at 5:00 p.m. prior to the election, a certificate of nomination which shall be executed as provided in chapter 12-6… [SB 69, conference committee, 2015.03.13].

I will have a full and reliable breakdown of the final form of Senate Bill 69 in tomorrow’s blog cycle, after I write to Governor Daugaard explaining why he should veto Senate Bill 69 and 67. But it’s important that we stomp out Republican misinformation about election law as quickly as possible.


  1. grudznick 2015-03-15 21:01

    What is the other bill you want the Governor to veto, the number 67 one? I would hope you dropped him a note or two last week in person. And got a bunch of the legislatures ready to not vote against these coming vetos. People can get up and rally the legislatures to crush out the Governor’s veto by voting over it before the last day.

  2. leslie 2015-03-15 22:07

    grudz-keepin’ an old eagle-eye out for voting restrictions in all forms SDGOP can come up with (thks to el KOCH/KOCHs, ALEX, AFP, ect.), eh?

  3. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-03-15 22:26

    I will continue to urge legislators to oppose such bad ideas.

    Senate Bill 67 sets the deadline for filing court challenges to nominating petitions as the third Tuesday in March. If SB 67 were enacted without SB 69, the filing deadline would remain the last Tuesday in March, meaning the court challenge deadline would a week or two before the submission deadline.

    It might not be entirely necessary for the Governor to veto SB 67 along with SB 69. He could veto SB 69 alone and count on the Legislature to take up a repeal of SB 67 right away during the 2016 session, before the challenge deadline hit.

  4. Dave 2015-03-15 22:53

    Thankfully, South Dakotans are no longer blessed with Powers, and his astute powers of observation, in the SOS office.

  5. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-03-16 06:45

    Good point, Dave. As often as he leverages his connections to that office, he certainly doesn’t exert comparable expertise.

Comments are closed.