I’m guessing 43,000 ballots remain to be counted in Minnehaha County, the only jurisdiction in South Dakota not reporting complete results as of 7:30 this brilliant sunny morning on the prairie. 43,000 votes will not change the outcome of the votes on Amendment B and Initiated Measure 26, and it is unlikely they will break in a sufficiently extreme negative fashion to beat Amendment A.
So get ready, South Dakota: come July 1, y’all can bet on sports and smoke pot. How’s that for social progress?
As of this morning’s report, with 622 of 693 precincts reporting complete results and another 71 still partial, Amendment B, to allow sports betting in Deadwood, has 63,062 more yeas than nays. Initiated Measure 26, to allow medical marijuana in South Dakota, has 144,728 more yeas than nays. The Minnehaha vote can’t sink either of those measures.
Amendment A, the more far-reaching measure to write medical marijuana, recreational marijuana, and industrial hemp into our state constitution, predictably received a cooler reception from South Dakota voters. A’s yeas outnumber nays, but only by 25,635, the closest split on any statewide ballot line, issue or candidate. The outstanding Minnehaha votes could mathematically reverse that advantage, but the remaining absentee votes in Sioux Falls and its environs would have to break 20–80 against Amendment A. Even in the the counties most dubious (least doobie-ous?) about Amendment A, the highest nay percentages have been 72.6% in Haakon County and 72.2% in Douglas County. The strongest opposition to A was in rural counties; the only “urban” counties to break against A are Beadle (50.75% against) and Davison (50.55% against). The votes counted so far in Minnehaha County are 59.42% in favor of A. The notion that 80% of the remaining early votes in our most urban county would go against A thus seems unlikely.
The Legislature can’t stop either Amendment A or Amendment B; only we voters can change our constitution. But the Legislature could foul up the implementation of those amendments with over-regulation or foot-dragging during the 2021 Session, if Governor Kristi Noem tells them to. The Legislature can amend or repeal Initiated Measure 26, since it is just a law.