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SD Voice Beats Ravnsborg Again—Circulator Registry and Badges Unconstitutional

We win! We win! You, me, my ballot question committee, every citizen who wants to put a law to a vote, every citizen who likes signing petitions and voting directly on laws… pretty much every-gosh-darn-body in South Dakota but Kristi Noem, Jason Ravnsborg, and Steve Barnett wins!

Requiring ballot question petition circulators to pre-register with the state, submit their personal information to a state database, and wear a state-issued badge is unconstitutional. So ruled U.S. District Court Judge Charles Kornmann today in SD Voice v. Noem II. Here’s his ruling overturning 2019 House Bill 1094 in toto:

I’m going to walk the dog. Then I’ll spend the evening reading and preparing my analysis of this victory for People Power.

…but, quickly, here’s a phrase that leaps out about the discriminatory nature of the state’s effort via HB 1094 to place extra burdens on ballot initiative proponents while leaving opponents unfettered by registries and badges:

The content and effect of the Act makes this discrimination unmistakable. If you favor the status quo and oppose change, you are not regulated. If you favor change of one sort or another, you are extensively regulated [Judge Charles Kornmann, ruling, SD Voice v. Noem II, 2020.01.09, p. 4].


  1. Porter Lansing 2020-01-09 17:46

    👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 You’re a runaway freight train, Heidelberger. 👈🏻

  2. bearcreekbat 2020-01-09 18:08

    ¡Felicidades Cory!

  3. Mark 2020-01-09 18:33

    Congratulations Cory.
    A win for the people. Nice to see
    the Queen of delusion and her court
    Jester get a swift kick in the arse.

  4. Owen 2020-01-09 18:43

    Congratulations Cory. Pat yourself on the back.
    Makes up for Noem not picking me for the Dist. 19 Senate opening. :)

  5. Donald Pay 2020-01-09 19:03

    Congrats. Cab wait to read the decision.

  6. Bob Newland 2020-01-09 19:09

    Hey! G. Marky! This bud’s for you. You ignorant slut.

  7. S 2020-01-09 19:09

    Woo Hoo!

  8. Bob Newland 2020-01-09 19:10

    As a token of my appreciation, paltry as it is, I am sending Cory $100 tomorrow.

  9. Scott Ehrisman 2020-01-09 19:13

    I knew you would win. Isn’t the Constitution an amazing document!

  10. tom pokela 2020-01-09 19:25

    Congratulations. The law was just an attempt to keep the people out of government business

  11. Dave Baumeister 2020-01-09 19:36

    Cory, We are all proud of you and your work for the people of South Dakota. I noticed that Powerless Pat is pretty quiet on this one.

  12. Old Spec.5 2020-01-09 20:01

    I salute you Cory. This is so sweet Thanks

  13. Debbo 2020-01-09 20:03

    CONGRATULATIONS Cory! And congratulations to the people of South Dakota!

  14. Gail Johnson 2020-01-09 20:10

    Good job. Thanks for working on this!

  15. leslie 2020-01-09 20:22


    Who in the hell wrote this law?

  16. grudznick 2020-01-09 22:05

    The smiting, the mighty smiting, begins during these legislatures. SB 5: And act to make all rabble rousers bend over and spread them. Supported by many powerful lobbists, I am sure.

  17. grudznick 2020-01-09 22:21

    grudznick fears, now, being knocked in the teeth by the legislatures that Mr. H has so angered, but they’ll have to come to breakfast and get past the sergeants at arms of the Conservatives with Common Sense first, or have a pass. There are a few passes unaccounted for, so this weekend we may need to enlist some of the old Howite troops to regulate entrances, folks.

  18. Richard Schriever 2020-01-09 22:52

    Congratulations Corey. Keep up the good fight!!

  19. Vickie 2020-01-10 00:23

    Congratulations Cory!! Another job done well. Much respect to you as always. :)

    P.S. When I saw the story on the news,I just happened to be wearing the campaign shirt that you so generously sent me.

  20. grudznick 2020-01-10 01:29

    Mr. H, don’t cash Bob’s check until tomorrow. IF youknowwhatimeanandithinkyoudo.

  21. Bob Newland 2020-01-10 09:34

    I’ll bet $100 that grudznick will simply continue soiling the carpet in this reading room, without asking it’s master to send money to Cory to partially repay him for the stink.

  22. Bob Newland 2020-01-10 09:39

    By the way, I wrote “its,” not “it’s.” Some communist spell-correct changed it.

  23. Tim Even 2020-01-10 09:55

    You are a freedom fighter Cory

  24. Heidi Marttila-Losure 2020-01-10 11:14

    Yay! And what a nice turn of phrase by the judge.

  25. John Fiksdal 2020-01-10 11:30

    You and Jim ROCK. The Casbah. The State.

  26. Donald Pay 2020-01-10 11:38

    I hope you are thinking about teeing up the next suit. The forced speech aspects of the AG explanation has bothered me for a long time. And, of course, I would address whether all that bureaucracy ahead of the petition circulation process is necessary, or is it a way to limit or squelch free speech and petitioning for redress of grievances. As I read Kornmann’s decision, he seems very skeptical of that sort of one-sided bureaucracy, particularly ahead of the actual petitioning.

  27. Mary 2020-01-10 16:54

    Thank you so much for your work on this!!

  28. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-01-10 20:35

    Dear friends, thank you. It hardens me to give you our cause to cheer. It hardens me to know that Jim Leach and I have done something good for every voter in the state. It hardens me to know that no matter how hard Republicans try to take away our rights, there are still ways that we can assert the supremacy of the First Amendment and our great Constitution.

  29. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-01-10 20:41

    Donald, I have to admit, when I can make a difference like this two times in a row, it kind of makes me wonder what else we could achieve if we put our heads together, identified other bad laws that I legislature is using to take away our rights, and took them to court. How many other bad laws are on the books in this state that would fail judicial scrutiny if someone would just take the time to study them and case law and make the argument to an honest judge?

  30. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-01-10 20:44

    But instead of spending all of our time in court, wouldn’t it be easier for us to just elect good legislators who respect the Constitution and the people?

  31. Porter Lansing 2020-01-10 21:53

    Speaking of honest judges. This judge is the opposite of the judges ImPotus is filling Federal courts with.

  32. Donald Pay 2020-01-10 21:54

    Easier? I don’t know. It depends on a lot of things, I guess. My own feeling was it was easier to kick them in the nuts, and much more fun to watch them writhe in pain, which is what the special interest lobbyists and the corrupt authoritarian legislators are doing right now. You have to know that every initiative and every lawsuit you bring is like a blow to their nether parts. The only thing better would to lock them up.

  33. Debbo 2020-01-10 23:32

    🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 While that’s very funny and very true Don, that’s also why we need more women in Pierre. Ego is generally significantly smaller, with a few exceptions.

    What Andrew Yang said about too many men getting together.

  34. Donald Pay 2020-01-11 08:42

    I’m with you, Debbo. The less nuts to kick, the better.

  35. mike from iowa 2020-01-11 12:16

    Women are less likely to get into a peeing contest with anyone. Less testosterone and more common sense, plus women can balance a checkbook. Or, at least, some of them casn.

  36. leslie 2020-01-11 19:02

    The GOP strategy of exhausting us by phenomenal efforts and expenditures to slap them down.

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