How unpopular was Amendment C, the proposal to require a 60% supermajority for voters to enact initiatives or referred laws that raise taxes or spend $10 million or more in one year?
Consider that voters rejected Amendment C in every county but Douglas:
…and even in Douglas County, only 52.5% of Tony Venhuizen’s friends and family back in Armour said they prefer minority rule to straight-up majority votes on ballot measures.
Charlie Hoffman’s neighbors in McPherson County darn near passed Amendment C: the vote there was 365 for and 369 against.
The C vote wasn’t close anywhere else. Only eight more counties gave C more than 40% Yes votes—Aurora, Charles Mix (the highest in this anti-democratic batch at 44.3%), Deuel, Grant, Harding, Perkins, Union, and Ziebach.
In 19 counties, the No on C vote was bigger than 70%. Over three-quarters of the voters in Day, Clay, and Stanley counties rejected C. 72.8% of voters in Hughes County, the seat of our Republican-dominated state government, voted against their party leaders’ wishes. And our biggest county, Minnehaha, which is still counting 2 of its 75 precincts, went 69.8% against C, just like our smallest county, Jones.
Amendment C also distinguished itself by drawing one of the strongest No votes for recent ballot measures. Since 2010, South Dakotans have had the pleasure of deciding 34 statewide ballot measures. Amendment C received a lower approval percentage than all but four of those measures. 2016’s Initiated Measure 23 on fair-share union dues, 2016’s Referred Law 19 on making it harder for independents to run for office, 2016’s Referred Law 20 on lowering the minimum wage for young workers, and 2012’s arcane Amendment M on language concerning corporations, each drew over 70% negatories. 2012’s Referred Law 16, Dennis Daugaard’s school-wrecking proposal on continuing contract and merit pay, came close to C’s unpopularity with a 67.2% No vote.
Amendment C was both historically and geographically unpopular. That this Republican-backed amendment should post such profound unpopularity in a special election coinciding with a primary in which Republicans constituted two-thirds of the turnout demonstrates out out of touch Republican legislators are with their own voters, not to mention the general population of South Dakota.