- Candidates for Presidential elector, Congress, Governor, Legislature, and other offices who currently may begin circulating petitions on January 1 will be able to start circulating on December 1.
- Candidates whose current petition submission deadline is the last Tuesday in March will have to submit their petitions by the first Tuesday in March (four weeks earlier in 2016, three weeks earlier in 2018). This change does not affect Independent candidates, whose petition submission deadline remains the last Tuesday in April.
The Secretary of State will no longer accept petitions sent by registered mail that reach her office after the submission deadline, effectively denying candidates who depend on the mail to reach Pierre two or three days of petition circulation time.
- The registered mail grace period is also repealed for local elections. Petitions must be in the hands of the person in charge of the election by the submission deadline.
- In a special Congressional election not coinciding with a primary or general election, candidates will have to submit their nominating petitions 65 days before the election, not the current 45 days prior.
- The minimum number of signatures statewide candidates affiliated with a recognized party must submit on their petitions will change from 1% of their last gubernatorial candidate’s vote tally to 1% of the voters registered with their party at the last general election. In most circumstances, this change means major-party candidates will need to collect more signatures, with an even greater disadvantage for a party whose gubernatorial candidate performs poorly. Looking at the last general election rather than the last gubernatorial election means the percentages will change for every election rather than for every other election.
- The minimum number of signatures for Independent statewide candidates change from 1% of the last combined gubernatorial vote to 1% of voters registered Independent or “other” at the last general election. Barring enormous Independent registration and/or dismal voter turnout, this change means Independents will need to gather fewer signatures.
|Petition signatures required under…||Republican||Democrat||Independent|
- Democrats, Republicans, and voters registered as members of other recognized political parties will no longer be able to sign petitions for Independent candidates. Given the math I’ve discussed in a previous post, plus the fact that Independents have no natural organization or network that helps a candidate find them, this new restriction makes it much harder for Independents to find eligible signers and far outweighs the advantage of the decreased signature requirement for Independents.
- The deadline for filing petitions for recognizing a new political party will move up from the last Tuesday in March to the first Tuesday in March.*
- Candidates of newly recognized parties currently must submit at least 250 signatures from registered members of their new party to make the ballot. Section 24 of SB 69 gives these candidates a second route to the ballot: they may collect signatures equaling 1% of the Independent/other voters registered at the last general election. Practically, Section 24 means newly recognized Libertarians, Greens, etc. running in 2016 could get either 250 signatures from members of their own party or 1,045 signatures from members of their own party and/or Independents. However, SB 69 leaves intact the language of SDCL 12-6-8 that specifies “No person may sign the nominating petition… for a political candidate of a party of which the person is not a member….” This sloppy drafting appears to negate Section 24.
- Party candidates may withdraw from the ballot and be replaced by their party’s central committee only under one of the following conditions:
- Illness of self or immediate family member, attested by licensed physician;
- Death (no doctor’s note required);
- Absence of any other nominee for the given office at the time the sole candidate withdraws;
- Election or nomination to another office that by law conflicts with the office sought;
- Job that by law conflicts with the office sought;
- Permanent change of residence to place outside jurisdiction of office sought.
- Independent candidates for sheriff will see their deadline for filing petitions moved up from the first Tuesday of June to the last Tuesday of April.
Senate Bill 69 remains on Governor Daugaard’s desk, awaiting his decision.
*Update 10:05 CDT: Interestingly, SB 69 does not change the signature requirement for forming a new party or the basis on which that requirement is calculated. Per SDCL 12-5-1, organizers of a new party will need to obtain signatures equal to 2.5% of the total combined vote in the last gubernatorial election, or, based on the 2014 vote, 6,936 signatures. I am puzzled by the fact that legislators made an effort to replace the last gubernatorial vote with the number of registered voters as the basis for petition requirement calculations in nearly every area but felt the gubernatorial vote was appropriate for just this one area. Did legislators leave this provision unchanged by rationale or omission?