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Redistricting Makes the Ballot! Krebs Certifies Amendment T!

Gerrymandering example 1: District 2 splits strong Dem Brown County in two along an arbitrary diagonal, then snakes all the way southeast to grab some Hamlin County Republicans to protect Brock Greenfield's seat in the Legislature.
Gerrymandering example 1: District 2 splits strong Dem Brown County in two along an arbitrary diagonal, then snakes all the way southeast to grab some Hamlin County Republicans to protect Brock Greenfield’s seat in the Legislature.

Merry Christmas, believers in democracy! Secretary of State Shantel Krebs this morning certified the redistricting petition! This summer and fall, Farmers Union collected signatures to submit to South Dakota’s voters a constitutional amendment to create an independent commission to draw South Dakota’s legislative boundaries. The intent is to draw fair boundaries strictly according to population and existing boundaries and to forbid the personal and political considerations that lead our self-interested legislators to draw the gerrymandered boundaries we see in Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Aberdeen, and elsewhere. That anti-gerrymandering proposal will now appear on the 2016 general election ballot as Amendment T.

Using the 5% sample method required by statute, Secretary Krebs calculates that the redistricting petition has 30,335 valid signatures out of 43,198 calculated submitted. That’s a 29.78% error rate, notably better than the 35.87% error rate on the Glodt amendment petition, though still worse than the 24.75% error rate reported for South Dakota ballot question petitions from 2008 to 2014.

Farmers Union hired some of the same out-of-state circulators as Glodt and the fake 18% petitioners. Farmers Union also hired me and some other responsible South Dakota circulators to augment its volunteer efforts. I’ll assert, on the basis of my experience with genuine South Dakota circulators on the referendum petitions last spring, that we South Dakota circulators produced a better validity rate with our patient, honest circulation tactics than the out-of-state mercenaries.

By Secretary Krebs’s calculation, the Amendment T petition has a 9.35% cushion. Citizens interested in challenging the redistricting petition now have until January 25* to review the document, identify 2,594 more invalid signatures than the Secretary has calculated, and file an official challenge with the Secretary of State. I estimate the cost of obtaining the Amendment T petition, voter registration list, and labor to check all signatures will be around $13,600.

A workflow note: after taking 31 work days to certify the Glodt petition with over 53,000 calculated signatures, Team Krebs turned around the redistricting petition with over 43,000 signatures in three workdays. The difference is that the Secretary’s staff spent those first 31 days indexing all eight initiative petitions for sampling. The last three days were spent solely checking signatures in the 5% sample from the already indexed redistricting petition sheets. If Secretary Krebs keeps cracking the whip at this rate, I can estimate the completion times for the remaining six petitions:

title issue submitted sigs estimated sigs* work days cert date
S Glodt 52,817 53,687 31 12/21/2015
T Redistricting 40,400 43,198 3 12/24/2015
21 36% rate cap 20,800 19,936 1.5 12/28/2015
U 18% decoy 60,028 62,601 4.2 01/04/2016
22 Anti-Corruption 25,216 26,297 1.8 01/06/2016
V Non-Partisan 39,182 40,862 2.7 01/11/2016
23 Fair Share 30,810 32,131 2.2 01/14/2016
24 MedMar 16,631 17,344 1.2 01/15/2016

*Note that between the Glodt and redistricting amendments, Secretary Krebs has calculated between 1.7% and 6.9% more signatures submitted than the sponsors claimed. This strange math happens because when the Secretary counts signatures, she doesn’t actually count blanks on each sheet; she only looks at the last line filled on a sheet. If signers skip a line or two on a sheet, or if a signer makes an error and crosses out that line, or if a circulator reviews signatures and crosses out lines, those blanks and cross-outs still count in the Secretary’s count of “submitted signatures” and are included in the 5% sample. For the above work schedule, I have averaged the Secretary’s count inflation on the two certified petitions to 4.3% and applied it to the sponsors’ signature counts.

Update 16:07 CST: I originally figured the challenge deadline would be January 23, a straight 30 days after the certification date. However, an e-mail from the Secretary of State’s office indicates the challenge deadline for the Amendment T petition will be January 25, because January 23 is a Saturday!

Update 2015.12.28 15:45 CST: I have corrected the 23/Fair Share signature count from an error in the original post and moved the 23 and 24 certification dates back one day each. See an updated chart taking into account work time for IM 21 on my December 28 post on IM 21’s certification.


  1. jerry 2015-12-24

    When South Dakota finally does the right thing in redistricting, who will represent the huge numbers of RV’ers that have their homes in a mailbox? I want to see John Doe on the skype calling in from Bumthistle, Kentucky to join the debate in Pierre. Maybe John Doe could replace that worthless pos Phil Jensen. Even a bump on a log would serve the state better.

  2. moses 2015-12-24

    What did you expect with one party rule .

  3. owen reitzel 2015-12-24

    Hopefully this will pass and they can redraw our boundaries so my friend Frank Kloucek can have a chance to get back to where he belongs-Pierre. Representing all of South Dakota

  4. grudznick 2015-12-24

    Mr. Kloucek is the most ineffective in the legislatures ever. I hope he goes back and becomes the leader of the Democrat caucuses.

  5. leslie 2015-12-24

    gee bill f., grudz is poetic. what a value to this democratic, liberal blog. no offense intended except to grudz. a pig really, not mentioning his constant leering misogyny and occasional veiled racism. i know, it’s just schtick right? buh bye gotta go!

  6. owen reitzel 2015-12-24

    If Frank was ineffective Grud why did the Republicans redistrict so that he’d lose? He must have been doing something right.

  7. Richard Schriever 2015-12-24

    grudz, my ear to the Repub. grapevine tells me one Isaac Latterell is widely viewed amongst his own party as the least engaged/effective of all legislators, regardless of party.

  8. Donald Pay 2015-12-24

    Owen!!!! That’s exactly right. Frank didn’t count his effectiveness by how many bills he passed for elite of the state. He took on issues for his constituents and for many others around the state, when other legislators would turn them down. There was no issue, big or small, that Frank wouldn’t champion if it meant someone got a chance to bring their issue forward. He is the type of legislator who sacrificed his own “effectiveness” with the elite to help ordinary folks get their issues heard. Many of the issues he took on and the votes he cast took courage, because he knew they were long-shots at best. But he did the best for them he could. He thought the legislative process was meant to work for ordinary folks, too, not just for the elite. We could use a lot more legislators like Frank Kloucek.

    And there are many others, too, who were redistricted out of the Legislature. Several come to mind: Linda Lea Viken, Judy Olson, Sharon Green, Carol Maicki. The drek that took their place explains why South Dakota has become a corrupt cesspool.

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