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Knobe Circulating Petitions to Refer SB 69 and SB 177

In other referendum news, our hardy team of petition circulators in Sioux Falls just added some star power. The dean of Sioux Falls talk radio and erstwhile two-term Sioux Falls mayor Rick Knobe is carrying petitions:

Rick Knobe
Rick Knobe: politician, radio personality, petitioner!

I have picked up petitions to refer two laws passed this South Dakota legislative session. Overturning the creation of the sub-minimum wage (SB 177) for teens is one.

The second petition seeks to overthrow Senate Bill 69, which makes it nearly impossible for other voices to be heard in the election process.

…I will be carrying both petitions wherever I go, except church. If you want to join other fair minded South Dakotans by rejecting the tyranny of the majority, let me know [Rick Knobe, It’s Petition Drive Season In South Dakota,” KSOO Radio, 2015.04.20].

Boy, don’t mob the radio station! But if you see Chancellor Knobe around town, don’t be afraid to go up and ask to sign his petitions. He’ll be glad you do, and so will you!

I’m grateful that Knobe recognizes that both SB 69 and SB 177 are bad laws. As Knobe says, SB 69 makes it practically impossible for Independents to get on the ballot and significantly harder for everyone else. SB 177, the youth minimum wage, also hurts democracy, since it is the Legislature’s effort to tinker with a voter ballot initiative and thus deter citizens from bringing future matters to similar votes. And now Knobe, like dozens of other volunteers who’ve contacted me, is willing to put his shoe leather where his mouth is. Thank you, Rick Knobe!

I am curious, though: when’s the last time a petition drive won the public endorsement and participation of any similarly prominent mainstream media figure in South Dakota? Should we see if we can get KELO’s Greg Belfrage to carry petitions? And if we can’t get the news reporters to carry, perhaps we can recruit some sportscasters (they cover kids sports; they should care about kids’ wages, right?) and weathermen?


  1. Jeff Barth 2015-04-20 17:18

    Rick is a good guy! He’d make a great candidate for a Federal position…

  2. Charlie Hoffman 2015-04-21 07:36

    So Rick wants more of the Dog & Pony show the good doctor gave us all in the US Senate race making it nearly impossible to have a timely period the SOS needs to verify petition signatures.

    I get the Liberal agenda of big government mandating consumer driven salaries but the petition changes equalize all candidates run for office.

    You may win on 177 but 69 will stay.

  3. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-04-21 08:05

    Charlie, SB 69 could have fulfilled its original intent, extended time for petition review, with one clause, moving the petition deadline a week or two earlier. Frankly, I don’t think even that step is necessary. In last year’s election, given nine statewide primary candidates’ petitions to review (and that’s all the SOS is mandated to review, since the legislators excluded themselves from such scrutiny), the SOS would have had to take nine 5% random samples and thus review… what, about 1200–1400 signatures? My all-volunteer online team was able to review 2800 Bosworth signatures in one week, and that was without the easy access the SOS has to the official voter registration roll. Even if all nine of those petitions had been submitted on the deadline (and they weren’t; recall that some submitted early), the SOS could hire a couple extra staffers to process those signature samples in three days or less.

    Raising the signature counts for most candidates does not give the SOS more time to review petitions.

    Taking away Democrats’ and Republicans’ right to sign for Independent candidates does not give the SOS more time to review petitions.

    Allowing non-party members to sign new party nominating petitions does not give the SOS more time to review petitions.

    And nothing in SB 69 gives citizens more time to review and challenge petitions. SB 69 leaves unchanged SDCL 12-1-13, which gives citizens like me only five business days from time of petition filing to challenge a nominating petition with the Secretary of State.

    You can see it as plainly as I can, Charlie: your former colleagues turned petition reform into candidate repellent and incumbent protection.

    So when are you coming to town so you can sign my petitions, Charlie? Or shall I drive out to Eureka? When’s the next big festival in your fair city?

    (I will win on both 177 and 69. So will South Dakotans and democracy.)

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-04-21 08:07

    Jeff, don’t distract Knobe! Let him focus on his petitioning. Once we’ve got our signatures, then we can work on him for Congress.

  5. Charlie Hoffman 2015-04-21 13:11

    Corey I agree with your observation on 177 but highly doubt 69 will fail the public trust test. On July 4th there is a quite large all school reunion in Eureka and after that the Schmeckfest is the third Sat. in Sept. Same day as Sharptail opener.

    Later this summer when the young pheasants are running wild we can do a photo shoot walking through their nesting cover in the hopes of being amazed.

  6. Roger Cornelius 2015-04-21 13:46

    “the good doctor”?

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-04-21 13:49

    July 4—arrggh! Petition deadline is June 29. But I’d still gladly come to see new pheasants.

    69 fails the public trust test when I tell folks the Legislature took away their right to sign for Independents. It fails the public trust test when I tell them the Legislature is taking away choices on teir ballot. We get 69 on the ballot, and 70% will vote no.

  8. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-04-21 13:54

    Roger—oh, I see! Charlie is trying to say that without SB 69, we’ll have more Dr. Bosworth’s turning elections into fundraising scams. That’s false. Recall that even with our best efforts, the Madville Times petition review team was unable to find enough signatures to invalidate Bosworth’s petition… at least in the opinion of Secretary of State Jason Gant. Even if Gant had been required to conduct the 5% review, he would not have overturned Bosworth’s petitions. Even if Gant had found Bosworth’s petition fraud himself (fraud that we pointed out very clearly to him and which we argued should invalidate her entire petition), Gant would have wimped out as he explicitly did and refused to act in a legal capacity.

    If Senate Bill 69 really sought to rectify the Bosworth situation, it would have (1) extended the period during which citizens can file challenges from five to ten business days, (2) required that copies of all nominating petitions be posted online within 12 hours of filing so that all citizens can download them for free, and (3) offered citizens free online access to the voter registration database. Given those changes, I would consider discussing moving the petition submission deadline from the last Tuesday in March to a slightly earlier date.

  9. Kurt Evans 2015-04-21 14:27

    Charlie Hoffman wrote:
    >“Corey [sic] I agree with your observation on 177 but highly doubt 69 will fail the public trust test.”

    Republicans running for governor, U.S. Senator or U.S. Representative will each need 23 percent more signatures in 2016 under SB 69. Democrats will need 150 percent more.

    SB 69 deprives every South Dakotan who registers with a party affiliation of the freedom to mount an independent campaign for public office. It also moves the petition filing deadline for new parties to more than eight months before the general election.

    As our state legislators and governor were repeatedly informed before SB 69 was passed and signed, at least two of its provisions have already been struck down by the courts. Several others likely will be if they’re challenged.

    SB 69 as amended is naked partisan cheating jammed through the legislature by Corey Brown and Brian Gosch to increase the likelihood of another uncontested election for John Thune, and it wouldn’t surprise me a bit to find out Thune operatives were behind it.

  10. Roger Cornelius 2015-04-21 15:20

    When the whole Bosworth petition scandal was exposed by you and the resulting criminal charges came, I had a glimmer of hope that the petition process would be reformed for the good of democracy.

    What we got from the SDGOP in SB69 was not petition reform but more ways from them to stack the deck.

  11. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-04-21 16:40

    That’s what disappoints me, Roger. We can’t get the majority party to just fix problems; they keep looking for every opportunity to maximize their electoral advantage, to the detriment of democracy and the general welfare.

    Thus, we petition.

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