One—one!—initiative petition has qualified for the 2020 ballot. On Thursday, Secretary of State Steve Barnett validated his first petition, the medical marijuana measure proposed by New Approach South Dakota. From the Secretary’s press release, we gather the following numbers:
- Official signature count: 34,192.
- Random sample of signatures actually checked: 718 (2.1% of total).
- Percent of signatures found valid: 74.65%
- Petitioner error rate: 25.35%
- Valid signatures estimated by random sample: 25,524.
- Cushion over the 16,961 minimum required to make the ballot: 8,562 (50.48%).
New Approach SD had a 45.48% error rate on its failed 2015 petition and a 37.53% error rate with its failed 2017 petition. Clearly New Approach SD learned from its past petition drives and collected signatures far more effectively in 2019.
Opponents have until January 18 to file any challenge to the petition with the Secretary of State; challenges may also be filed through the summer in the Sixth Circuit Court in Hughes County. Absent a challenge, medical marijuana will appear on the 2020 ballot as Initiated Measure 26.
Now Secretary Barnett turns his attention to the broader initiated amendment to write medical marijuana, recreational marijuana, and industrial hemp into the South Dakota Constitution. Petitioners for that measure claim to have submitted 53,377 signatures; an error rate comparable to that of the medical marijuana petitioners would give them a good 5,900 signature cushion above the required 33,921 necessary to place an initiated amendment on the ballot.