The SD Voice petition drives need you! We have six weeks to collect 25,000 signatures on the HB 1094 Referendum petition to stop the oppressive circulator registry and badge requirement along with the People Power Initiative to roll back other barriers to your right to put laws to a vote. If every Dakota Free Press reader (at least those of you who are South Dakota residents age 18 or older!) went out this weekend and collected 25 signatures on each petition, we’d be done and then some!
If you want to circulate, give me a shout, and I’ll get you going.
One of the bits of burdensome bureaucracy that I’m trying to repeal with the People Power Petition is the new circulator residency affidavit. Created by G. Mark Mickelson’s 2018 House Bill 1196, this affidavit requires circulators to submit, among other things, their current address and their last two addresses. Circulators have to submit duplicate information for each petition they circulate; people who carry both SD Voice’s referendum petition and initiative petition must provide the same information twice.
This requirement epitomizes the redundant paperwork Mickelson and the Legislature have used to nickel and dime the petition process to death. If the intent is to establish that petition circulators are South Dakota residents (a legal requirement that may be as unconstitutional as Mickelson’s judicially overturned effort to ban out-of-state contributors), circulators already swear to their residency and provide their current address on every petition sheet they submit. Past addresses have no bearing on one’s current voting residency. The state thus has no interest in demanding that circulators say where they lived prior to where they live right now.
The questions of past residence also raise a practical difficulty. Quick check: recite the address of the two places you lived before you moved to your current place. I can recall the townhouse we lived in for a few months when we moved to Aberdeen in 2015 before we bought our happy little house here on 1st Street, but I have to look up the address of the two places we lived in before that. One of my circulators mentioned that he’s lived in the same place for twenty years and doesn’t remember his previous address. That circulator and I are both South Dakota residents, and we’re going to swear to it on every petition sheet we submit. That the state would throw out petitions because we can’t fully recall information irrelevant to our current legal status as state residents unreasonably burdens the people’s right to sign and circulate petitions.
These legal and practical difficulties show that Mickelson’s interest was not in proving anyone’s residency; his interest was in killing the initiative and referendum process. Friends, neighbors, let’s keep thwarting Mickelson’s scheme. Grab a couple petitions, get signatures from your friends and neighbors, and let’s take our ballot rights back!