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Referendum Notes: Dems Officially In, Bank Accounts Up… and Tips for Circulators!

The petition drives to refer Senate Bill 177 (the youth minimum wage) and Senate Bill 69 (the “incumbency protection plan,” as one circulator calls it) are charging forward! The state Democratic Party’s Central Committee gave its official stamp of approval at Saturday’s McGovern Day celebration to what AP reported on April 7, that the party and labor would put time and resources behind the push to refer both anti-democratic bills. I also hear from an attendee that hundreds of the people attending McGovern Day signed the petitions. Thank you, friends! Hundreds down, thousands to go!

We have circulators in Aberdeen, Sioux Falls, Brookings, Madison, Pierre, Rapid City, Custer, and a few other locations. If you’d like to join the team and circulate, you can download and print the petitions from these PDF files (SB 69 and SB 177), as well as my essential petition circulation guide. I can also mail you hard copies, if you prefer not to monkey with the printer.

If you’re circulating, here are my tips of the week:

  1. Keep smiling! We are happy warriors, saving democracy! Your neighbors will always be more willing to help you change the world when they see you smile.
  2. Keep it short! On the complicated Senate Bill 69, I joke with potential signers, “I can read you all 24 sections if you like,” and when I get the inevitable looks of scorn and dread, I say, “Short form: 69 makes it harder to run for office; come November, you and I will have fewer choices on our ballot.” If you’re going to get a signature at all, those 22 words should make the sale 80% of the time.
  3. Keep your eye on the ball… and the petition! Unless you want to end up in court with Annette Bosworth, you must personally witness every signature.
    • Saturday I got a gentleman’s signature at his front door. Then he said, “Let me take this petition inside, and I’ll get my wife’s signature.” I couldn’t let him do that while waiting at the door. I had to ask if I could come in and witness the signature. It was awkward to invite myself in like that, but my petition cannot travel out of my sight for a signature.
    • At the camper show couple weekends ago, I had a booth for the petitions. I needed to take a bathroom break. I couldn’t hand the sheet on which I had witnessed ten signatures to a helper and say, “Here, get more signatures while I’m gone.” I had to put my sheets away in my backpack while I took my break. Every signature on a single sheet must be witnessed by the same person who will sign the circulator’s oath. If a partner spells you, that partner has to take signatures on a fresh petition sheet.

Oh, and in campaign finance news, my bank is finally figuring out how to create accounts for ballot question committees (you wouldn’t think this would be a two-week, five-visit process, but corporate America never fails to surprise me). Thus, I will finally be able to use the contributions folks have sent me to support the petition drive. If you’d like to help financially, send your checks to “SD Voice” (for SB 177) and “South Dakotans for Fair Elections” (for SB 69) to 1915 10th Ave SE #5, Aberdeen, SD 57401. Your contributions will help cover postage, copying, booth rental, mileage, and other expenses. Thanks for your support of democracy in South Dakota!


  1. mike from iowa 2015-04-20 13:44

    What does your bank do with the depsitor’s info it collects? Do they sell it or share it or use it to solicit customers from depositors? Color me snoopy or curious.

  2. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-04-20 15:47

    I want to remind you petition circulators that there are many, many folks such as me, who are unable to do the work ourselves, but we are cheering you on. We give financial and emotional support.

    We Have Your Backs.

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