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Pile of Dung: Non-Residents Gain Power to Tax South Dakotans by Creating New Town

This should help GOED’s marketing efforts—South Dakota’s newest town is named for bison dung:

On Thursday, Buffalo Chip voters unanimously gave their community the nod to become South Dakota’s newest town.

All 43 of them [Deb Holland, “Buffalo Chip Voters Approve of Campground’s Becoming South Dakota’s Newest Town,” Rapid City Journal, 2015.05.07].

Wow: in various totalitarian regimes, Vladimir Putin only got 64% of the vote; Dennis Daugaard only got 70.5%; Saddam Hussein managed 100%. And none of those leaders had to turn to voters outside their jurisdictions to win their hefty margins.

But this is just a joke, right? No county or state would allow a busload of non-residents to fabricate a town named for poop and levy taxes on actual South Dakotans, would it?

A group of 56 landowners and the city have appealed the Meade County Commission’s approval of the petition to hold Thursday’s incorporation election. Both the city and the landowners cite residency irregularities as one of the reasons for the appeal.

During testimony in the municipal-incorporation petition process before the Meade County commissioners, many of those questioned said they did not live at Buffalo Chip, but were listed as voters in the proposed incorporated area.

“It’s absolutely silly for a city to come into existence when the people who are voting don’t even live in the city,” said Tim Udager, who lives on Fort Meade Way, a newly proposed route in Meade County that will take drivers from Interstate 90 in the south to Highway 34 on the north. “There is no proof that the people live there and a lot of proof that they don’t. The whole thing is a big joke.”

Udager is among those who joined in the lawsuit to appeal [Holland, 2015.05.07].

Funny: we raise more barriers to non-residents shooting our birds and hooking our fish than we do to their registering to vote and create policing and taxing entities. I hope the Legislature will move as quickly to address the question of the validity of non-resident voter registration as enterprising Sturgis Rally-goers will rush to buy Buffalo Chip liquor licenses.


  1. rwb 2015-05-08 07:34

    Complain away all you want, Cory. I am still standing in amazement at what a determined Rod Woodruff and his lawyer Kent Hagg accomplished. Hagg probably has a stake in what’s going on out there. He and his brothers have been dealing real estate and liquor licenses for years around Piedmont Valley.

    Here is some truth in advertising from Kent Hagg:

  2. Nick Nemec 2015-05-08 08:15

    If the “town” is incorporated are there public streets I can travel on and avoid the entrance fee?

  3. El Rayo X 2015-05-08 08:31

    Maybe an enterprising non-resident pastor will come in, set up a church, demand public services and not pay taxes to get them,

  4. Les 2015-05-08 11:47

    And the folks over in Spearfish raise heck over giving the fire dept taxing ability.

  5. happy camper 2015-05-08 16:56

    Reminds a person that South Dakota allows people to come to our state for one day, stay overnight in a motel, get a drivers license, register their motor home and become an immediate resident. They get the right to vote (like they care) but most importantly avoid paying state income tax from where they came. Hard to believe it’s about money. Could it be about money???

  6. Chris S. 2015-05-08 23:07

    This would seem to be one of the rare examples of Voter Fraud™ people on the right are always screeching about . . . yet I see an almost total lack of concern about this. Weird.

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-05-09 07:05

    Good use of the ™, Chris! I share your puzzlement at the complete absence of outrage from the usual suspects who holler about voter fraud and call for tightening restrictions on who can vote. Apparently well-to-do retirees are not to be challenged at the ballot box. Hmm… anyone care to speculate on the partisan and racial make-up of the Buffalo Chip electorate?

  8. Don Coyote 2015-05-09 09:47

    Due to Dunn vs Blumstein 1972, long durational residency requirements were held by the liberal majority of the SCOTUS to be in violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment with 30 days becoming the safe harbor limitation. Because of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 and it’s motor voter provisions, many states dropped the durational requirement entirely and shortened the registration cutoff date even allowing for registration the day of the election in some states. North Dakota doesn’t even register voters anymore.

  9. mhs 2015-05-09 12:01

    I love that this passed, it’s a heartily deserved, buffalo-sized load of Karma upon Meade County. The real history here is not only the road project to the Chip, it’s much to do with the creation of the new city of Somerset a few years back. Meade County happily approved the most gerrymandered mess of a city boundary South Dakota has ever seen, all designed to collect the most amount of sales taxes possible while avoiding providing services to homeowners.

    Yes, politicians do reap what they sow.

  10. omg 2015-05-09 18:49

    The laws on residency in SD are clear. As I recall from the history of this issue the BC followed all SD laws, Meade County approved their application, the residents voted unanimously to incorporate. What’s the beef? The beef is between Sturgis and Meade County. Why would Sturgis care if the BC is a municipality? Possible dreams of annexation, perhaps. Why are vendors leaving Sturgis? Meade County approved the residency requirements I would suppose after careful consideration of SD residency laws. Really, what’s the beef?

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