Jay Pond ran for State House as Democrat in District 35 in 2012. Now he’s leading the charge to place Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein on the South Dakota ballot. Stein’s campaign website lists Pond as the statewide coordinator for the petition push to place three Stein electors—Pond, Chastity Jewett, and Costas Hercules, all of Rapid City—alongside the Trump and Clinton electors on our November ballot.
To make the ballot, Pond and his progressive friends have just eleven days—deadline is August 2—to collect 2,774 South Dakota voter signatures and submit them to the Secretary of State. Stein’s website lists 3,000 signatures as the target—that’s less than a 10% cushion! I’d shoot higher.
Interested circulators can access a PDF version of the Stein petition here. But you still can’t sign and submit electronically: you have to print that document, gather physical signatures, get a notary seal, and get that printed, signed, stamped piece of paper to Jay Pond so he can include it with all other sheets and his original in the box he’ll hand to Secretary Krebs a week from Tuesday.
I understand it’s a rush job, so there may be only enough time to do one thing, but I would think Greens would take this opportunity to double the fun and circulate a Green Party organizing petition alongside the Stein petition. Gaining official party status requires two and a half times as many signatures—6,936—as placing a Independent candidates on the statewide ballot, but snaring 3,000-plus signatures for a party petition at the same time as a candidate petition would be a good start, and organizers could easily gather the remaining 4,000 or so signatures while campaigning for Stein through the fall.
Independents may be inclined to sign for Stein. South Dakota Republicans may throw in, too, not to tilt the result, since no maps show South Dakota in doubt for Trump, but just to tweak us Democrats and keep Hillary/Bernie tension tight through the election.
As a down-ticket Democrat, though, I wonder: could putting Jill Stein on the ballot help down-ticket Dems? Are there a significant number of progressive voters who are planning to stay home rather than vote for Clinton, who would be brought out of their chairs by a chance to protest for Stein, and who would then look at the rest of the ballot and check the Dems for Senate, House, PUC, and Legislature who align with their progressive values?