Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is promoting universal voter registration, a system used in many other democracies, to spotlight and challenge what she sees as a systematic effort by Republicans to discourage voting:
“Republicans are systematically and deliberately trying to stop millions of Americans from voting. What part of democracy are they afraid of?” Clinton demanded. The GOP, she said, needs to “start explaining why they’re so scared of letting citizens have their say” [Evan Halper, “Clinton Crusades Against State Voting Restrictions,” Governing, 2015.06.05].
Perhaps Clinton would like to bring that message to South Dakota to help us refer the anti-voter laws passed by our Republican Legislature. Senate Bill 69, the Incumbent Protection Plan, makes it harder for people to run for office, meaning voters will have fewer choices on their ballots and more uncontested races where they get no vote on who takes power. Senate Bill 177, the discriminatory youth minimum wage, is ostensibly about economics, but it’s really another voter-suppression bill. Employers don’t need SB 177 to pay young workers a training wage. Republican legislators passed Senate Bill 177 as a poke in the eye to the majority of voters who passed the minimum wage increase in 2014: Don’t bother passing ballot initiatives, you silly voters, because we legislators will just undo them.
Senator/Secretary/Candidate Clinton, you obviously share South Dakotans’ concerns about voting rights. Our Republican Legislature offers two keen examples of exactly the problem you want to make a major campaign issue. Help us promote our referenda to defend voting rights. Come visit South Dakota… before Bernie Sanders beats you to it!
By the way, I hear a petitioner will be at a big bike race event at Crow Peak Brewery in Spearfish tonight. I believe that may be the pasta feed starting at 5 p.m. for riders in tomorrow’s Gold Rush Gravel Grinder. Spearfish, Belle Fourche, Lead-Deadwood friends, don’t wait for Hillary—head to the brewery and sign those petitions tonight!
Update 10:38 CDT: Spearfish friends! Petitions will be at Killian’s at 4 p.m., then Crow Peak Brewery at 5, then back at Killian’s from 6 to 7. A hearty petitioner will also be working some of the Gravel Grinder aid stations Saturday. Racers, we’ll understand if you don’t stop on Saturday, but if you need a break, we’ll take your signature!