Press "Enter" to skip to content

Petition Reform and Youth Minimum Wage Face Referendum; Petitions Hit Streets March 31!

Shantel Krebs sent me not one but two letters yesterday. I feel all tingly:

Shantel Krebs to CAH
Secretary of State Shantel Krebs to Cory Allen Heidelberger, letter approving petition to refer Senate Bill 69, 2015.03.26
Shantel Krebs to CAH
Secretary of State Shantel Krebs to Cory Allen Heidelberger, letter approving petition to refer Senate Bill 177, 2015.03.26

The efforts to refer Senate Bill 69 (the petition “reform” bill that takes away voter rights) and Senate Bill 177 (the youth minimum wage) begin Tuesday, March 31, after the Legislature has officially adjourned. We will have 90 days, until 5 p.m. Monday, June 29, 2015, to collect at least 13,871 signatures for each measure (and my hair stands on end until we have 20% more than that). If we succeed, SB 69 and SB 177 will be put on ice and voted on by the electorate in the next general election, on November 8, 2016.

I filed the petition applications yesterday after serious conversations with people of various political stripes from across South Dakota. My filing yesterday was my individual action, not the action of any organization. However, I hope that all organizations and individuals interested in democracy (that should be all of you) will volunteer to help collect signatures and put these bad laws to a public vote.

I will post petition PDFs and circulation instructions this weekend, after I get done having fun here in Rapid City. Get out your walking shoes and your knocking knuckles—starting March 31, we’ve got petitions to fill!


  1. Ellee Spawn 2015-03-27 09:02

    Thanks for taking the lead on this one, Cory. You can bet your sweet bippie that I’ll be out pounding the pavement with this.

  2. rollin potter 2015-03-27 09:06

    thank you Cory for all the time and work you put in to try and make this a better state to live in!!!!!!!!

  3. Ellee Spawn 2015-03-27 09:09

    I’ve reserved a table at Benson’s Flea Market in Sioux Falls on April 11th and 12th and May 2nd and 3rd. If anyone would like to make a donation to defray the cost or would like to volunteer to man the table on any of those days (or portions thereof) please contact me at (605) 413-3383 or email me at

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-03-27 09:39

    Thanks, Ellee! That’s the kind of fast volunteer action on which democracy thrives.

    And Rollin, it’s my honor and my duty to serve. Tell your friends!

  5. Ellee Spawn 2015-03-27 10:30

    You’re 110% welcome, Cory. ;-) Glad to do it.

  6. John Campbell 2015-03-27 10:53

    kudos – looking forward to signing!

  7. Kurt Evans 2015-03-27 11:05

    “‘For voters, by virtue of your membership in a party, either active or lapsed, your electoral rights have been truncated,’ said Charlie Wheelan, a senior lecturer and policy fellow at the Rockefeller Center at Dartmouth College …

    “‘When voters affiliate with either the Democratic or Republican political parties they don’t renounce their rights as citizens; so the idea that the South Dakota legislature would prevent them from helping to qualify another candidate for the ballot is anti-democratic,’ said Nick Troiano, who last year ran as an Independent candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 10th District….

    “[Neither Corey Brown’s nor Ernie Otten’s remarks] do much to clarify why the amendments were deemed necessary to introduce. None of the Senators who spoke on behalf of SB 69 respond to requests for comment.”

    This article is from the Independent Voter Network website, and it barely touches on SB 69’s injustices toward non-Republican parties, but it’s definitely a worthwhile read:

  8. Ryan 2015-03-27 11:48

    Hi, awesome job at starting this, count me in, our governor is a misguide money man, we the people of SD in all Ernest voted to have min wage increase and HE went against our democratic process and his GOP friends did as well. Some how get ahold of me and I will sign your petition as long as we get what we voted for and won. And we should get a vote to force the SD gov to release ALL documents on where our money went to on the EB-5 deal.. missing is over 25 million. !!! Thank you , Ryan

  9. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-03-27 17:30

    Heck of an article, Kurt! Good to see some folks outside the state able to see the abuse of voting rights. Let’s hope they can help!

  10. Joseph Nelson 2015-03-27 22:10

    How can I, a SD resident and member of the military residing in Virginia, sign a petition?

  11. Kurt Evans 2015-03-27 22:45

    I’m pretty sure Cory’s planning to put the PDFs online here, Joe. Then you can print the petition sheet, get all of your South Dakota buddies to sign it (not until Tuesday), have it notarized, and mail it to Cory (not Corey) at the address in the secretary of state’s letter above.

  12. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-03-28 08:52

    Joseph, interesting question! Kurt is right: I will post PDFs shortly, along with a guide to petition rules.

    The trick for you is that you cannot sign your own petition sheet. You can’t witness your own signature. And since a circulator as to be an adult South Dakotan, if you were stationed in Greenland with two guys from Texas, you’d essentially be disenfranchise from the petition process (unless there’s some provision in the military voting laws that fixes that…).

    But back to business: is your wife still a registered South Dakota voter as well? If so, you download two petition sheets. You sign one as referrer and she signs as circulator. Then, if she likes, she can sign the other as referrer and you can sign as circulator. You can also take the one you circulate to anyone else on base who is from South Dakota. Heck, drop by the offices of our Congressional delegation! There’s a great concentration of South Dakota residents who may like the chance to sign a couple petitions from back home.

    Curious, Joseph: are there rules about circulating in uniform? I’m of the impression that you cannot engage in political activity while wearing your uniform. Is that correct?

  13. Les 2015-03-28 10:01

    You need to put down a quick read of say 1 to 5 bullet points for the tables Ellee is setting up Cory. Something like that to go into letters to the Ed across our state so folks understand without a ten minute explanation times 14,000.

  14. Kurt Evans 2015-03-28 10:54

    Cory wrote to Joseph Nelson:
    >”The trick for you is that you cannot sign your own petition sheet. You can’t witness your own signature.”

    Are you sure, Cory? I know you can’t notarize your own circulator’s oath, but why couldn’t you sign a sheet you circulate as long as you swear before the notary that you saw yourself sign?

    You may be right, but if you are, I don’t understand the reason for the rule, and I’m pretty sure I’ve broken it in the past.

  15. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-03-28 10:56

    Kurt, I’m checking on that. I haven’t found the statute yet, but it seems Kea Warne told me that in the office Thursday and that I’ve heard and obeyed that restriction in previous petition pushes. Caution for now… but I’ll look for the rule!

  16. Ellee Spawn 2015-03-28 11:17

    Kurt, you most definitely can NOT sign your own petition sheet. As the the Finance Officer for a small town, it was up to me to certify election petitions. I had to disqualify one candidate because he was a couple valid signatures short. His signature could not be counted because one cannot witness one’s own signature. I don’t have the SDCL at hand, but after hours on the phone with Kea at the SOS, we couldn’t find any loop holes to allow the signature.

  17. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-03-28 11:32

    Ellee reinforces our caution with experience! Thanks, Ellee!

  18. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-03-28 11:33

    Oh, and John C! You, too, when the petitions come around, let me know where you are, and we’ll get someone to your door… or we’ll make sure you know where someone like Ellee will be hosting a booth you can visit to sign!

  19. Ellee Spawn 2015-03-28 11:37

    I’ve begun recruiting high school students to circulate petitions. I have a 15 year old daughter with a gaggle of friends that work at Burger King, where they are planning on dropping the wage for the kids if this bad law goes into effect. There is nothing more motivated than a pissed off mob of angry teenagers who want to protect their paychecks. Talk to your kids about this one, folks. Get them involved. This is the best time ever to teach them that politics isn’t boring and that what goes on in our government does indeed directly affect them.

  20. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-03-28 11:47

    Speaking of caution, do each of those high school recruits have an 18-year-old friend to bring along? SOS says circulators must be at least 18 years old.

  21. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-03-28 11:48

    Can we get the BK boss on record saying they will drop the wage on July 1 if SB 177 takes effect? How many teen employees working there get minimum wage?

  22. Ellee Spawn 2015-03-28 11:53

    They’ll be circulating with me and other volunteers. (Since I’m running for office again, it would be really bad form for me to not dot my i’s and cross my t’s.) As to getting anyone on record, I’m not certain. My daughter was told this when she was at work yesterday after school. She had already earned a raise that put her above minimum wage and her wage would drop to the new minimum and her earned raise would disappear.

  23. Jake Cummings 2015-03-29 16:00

    Cory, has anyone you’ve spoken with mentioned circulating petitions in Pierre? If so, I can help with that. My work schedule, which involves a fair amount of travel likely precludes me from taking the lead myself.

  24. The Rev. Thomas Campbell 2015-03-30 15:15

    Good work, lovers of democracy. Fr. Tom Campbell, Spearfish

  25. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-03-30 20:53

    Father Tom! Thanks for the good Spearfish wishes! Got any willing walkers out there for us?

  26. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-03-30 20:55

    Hey, Jake! I’ve heard from another couple Pierre circulators, but Pierre is a big town. Don’t worry about taking any lead; just grab a couple copies, take ’em with, grab signatures between shifts! Pierre’s a lovely town to walk around.

  27. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-03-30 20:56

    (And keep me posted by email on where you’ve walked and how many signatures you’ve got!)

  28. Jake Cummings 2015-03-31 04:14

    Cory, do you have any plans to employ an online mapping tool to log where petitioners have visited?

    Sites like allow users to create shared routes for a group, so we could possibly increase our efficiency by tracking places we’re visiting throughout the state. Plus, we get the added benefit of seeing how many calories we’re burning. I’ve actually never used a website like this, so other readers may have better ideas on sites/apps we could use.

  29. Les 2015-03-31 09:16

    You need a permanent link for referral data until this is over, Cory. Where is the petition link?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.