We’re entering the final thrilling weeks of our referendum push! I’m walking around Aberdeen (and friends and allies are working Rapid City, Sioux Falls, and elsewhere) with petitions to refer Senate Bills 69 and 177 to a public vote.
Remember that Senate Bill 69 is the Legislature’s effort to keep Independents off the ballot and leave us with fewer candidates to choose from on our ballots. SB 69 was supposed to address petition fraud like that committed by Annette Bosworth and Clayton Walker, but it turned into partisan tricks that make it harder for citizens to run for office and challenge incumbents. That’s bad for democracy.
Senate Bill 177 is the youth minimum wage. SB 177 is economically and statutorily unnecessary. It’s really our grouchy Legislature’s effort to discourage citizens from exercising their own legislative power through initiative and referendum, as citizens did last year when they passed the minimum wage increase at the polls. As I go door to door, I all too regularly hear voters say, Why should we bother voting if the Legislature’s going to ignore us and do whatever it wants? That’s bad for democracy.
The deadline for me to walk into Secretary of State Shantel Krebs’s office with our completed SB 69 and 177 petitions is Monday, June 29, 5 p.m. Legally, we must present at 13,871 valid voters’ signatures on each petition. Practically, to cushion error and challenge, we need at least 18,000 signatures. That’s a hump we still need to top for each petition.
We can do it, and you can help! Find a circulator near you and sign both petitions. Or download petitions (one for SB 68, one for SB 177), print them (double-sided! double-sided!), sign them, get a pal or two to sign, notarize them at the bank or the courthouse, and then mail them to me. (Yes, circulators can sign the sheets they circulate!)
Attorney General Marty Jackley is on the radio telling us that “the electoral process is sacred and important.” I agree wholeheartedly. Our ability to participate in elections, choose our own candidates, and make our own laws is sacred and important. With SB 69 and SB 177, our Legislature is trying to take that ability away. That’s why referring SB 69 and SB 177 to a public vote is important. Sign these petitions, and tell Pierre you want your vote to count!