Press "Enter" to skip to content

HJR 5002: One More Shot at Independent Redistricting!

Voters thumbed down a proposal to get rid of gerrymandering with an independent redistricting commission in 2016. Chuck Parkinson fell 9% short of the signatures he needed to put the issue on the 2018 ballot, and Dan Ahlers was too busy running for U.S. Senate to collect signatures for his proposed 2020 anti-gerrymandering measure.

Democrats nonetheless want to give one of the most sensible constitutional and Legislative reforms a hearing in Pierre this year. House Joint Resolution 5002 would place on the 2020 ballot a constitutional ballot that would take the power to draw Legislative district boundaries away from legislators (who will always rig the map to favor their personal and partisan electoral interests) and assign that important task to a five-person commission charged with drawing maps based on the Constitution, population, geography, and socioeconomic relations and not on where candidates live or what party voters tend to support.

HJR 5002 mostly copies the language Dan Ahlers had on his petition. It would give voters one more chance before the 2021 redistricting to talk about whether we really want legislators to keep rigging the system and choosing their own voters or if we’d rather get rid of gerrymandering, one of the most unfair, unjustifiable practices baked into our otherwise estimable republic.

The League of Women Voters hosted an instructive series of forums around South Dakota on redistricting in 2018. They are supporting HJR 5002:

LWV spokesperson Amy Scott-Stoltz says, “Our state motto is, ‘Under God the People Rule.’ Having an Independent Redistricting Commission would echo this sentiment by taking the power away from politicians and giving it back to the people – where it belongs.”

This is a most appropriate call to action, considering that we’re in the centennial year of women’s suffrage.  The League of Women Voters continues to press for fairness [John Tsitrian, “Redistricting Time Is upon Us. Let’s See If the League of Women Voters Can Help Tilt the Process in SD Toward Fairness,” South Dakota Standard, 2020.02.07].

Who can argue with the League of Women Voters? Getting rid of gerrymandering would create fairer election maps and at least a chance at better representation. Better representation might mean fewer knuckleheads and knucklehead bills in the Capitol that don’t represent the broader interests of the people.

And not to drive any voters away, but if the Legislature will hand HJR 5002 to us voters, and if we can pass this amendment, I will happily volunteer to serve on the independent redistricting commission. I’d be really good at that job.

House Joint Resolution awaits a date with House State Affairs.


  1. Porter Lansing 2020-02-12 12:12

    As grudz said last night on the PubLog of Powers, (paraphrasing because Pat took the post down, which is common if you don’t buy his overpriced plastic paraphernalia). Dem’s don’t even bother to run in SD because the state is so severely gerrymandered. There’s no valid Republican pride in winning on a “tilted field of false fairness”. Winning an election in South Dakota is like kissing your brother.

  2. Debbo 2020-02-12 15:22

    There’s no valid Republican pride in winning on a “tilted field of false fairness”

    That’s right Porter. But the SDGOP has no valid pride. Cheaters never do. Just like their hero, Cheating Cheetoh. That’s why he’s always so miserable. He knows deep down he’s only level with a cat’s regurgitated hairball.

  3. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-02-13 11:05

    But people without principles don’t care about the usual things that would build healthy pride. They derive all of their self-esteem from power, from perceiving that they hold power over others and can use that power to bully those they don’t like and preserve their privilege. Once you start going down that road, you can’t stop to talk about principles. If you do, your identity and your world fall apart.

  4. leslie 2020-02-15 19:26

    This is more of the same GOP scorched earth fight since at least Obama’s election, 8 years of absolute obstruction and now these 3 years of this presidency. They have the Senate, DOJ, FBI, NSC, SCOTUS, fox propaganda network owned by Rupert Murdoch family, Rush Limbaugh, a majority of state governments and secretary of state voting officials, gerrymandered districts, census schemes, and the court system.

    They are coming for your vote. (NRA’s infamous distraction)

    They have enlisted Putin to hack these three elections. Billionaires like the Koch(s), Larry Ellison, Oracle and the rest of the Republican grifters with 450’ yachts desperately want MORE tax schemes. Notice David Lust, ect SD lawyers and CPAs turning SD into a world class, likely criminal tax haven.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.