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65 of 66 Counties Vote Against Amendment C; Fifth-Strongest Ballot Measure Rejection Since 2010

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:

SD Secretary of State, map of election results on Amendment C, featuring Douglas County, retrieved 2022.06.08, with all but 2 of 679 precincts statewide fully reported.
SD Secretary of State, map of election results on Amendment C, featuring Douglas County, retrieved 2022.06.08, with all but 2 of 679 precincts statewide fully reported.

…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.


  1. John 2022-06-08 09:04

    Out. Of. Touch. is the South Dakota legislators. Nice recap.

  2. Mark 2022-06-08 09:47

    To me the real proxy for how much of the Republican party are leaning Trumpist was the Dusty‐Taffy contest. Nice to see Dusty hold, but oh my, looks like the Radical Right is taking hold. Even Minnehaha was close, although most metro voters are just TV political while smaller communities have a better chance of voters actually personally involved in local issues.

    The county by county breakdown is revealing.

  3. mike from iowa 2022-06-08 10:11

    From RawStory…..

    In a similar vein, Sheila Kennedy shows how even redder Idaho managed to get Medicaid expansion and another progressive economic policy- taxing the rich to pay for public schools- through deplorable magat congress.

    From above link…. There are, however, “nuggets” of news suggesting the possibility of emerging from this period of extended stalemate.

    One of those stories is emerging from Idaho, of all places. As the linked article begins,

    Idaho is one of the most conservative, rural, and Republican-dominated states in the nation. It’s also on track to enact the sort of progressive economic policies that continue to elude Democrats in Washington, DC.

  4. Bob Newland 2022-06-08 10:29

    Yahweh knows we have very few such occasions to celebrate a momentary lapse into sanity among the SoDak electorate.

  5. Donald Pay 2022-06-08 12:12

    I think the vote shows that voters, no matter what party label you stick on yourself, value American and South Dakota values. They believe in majority votes; they believe that people should participate in important decisions via the initiative. To me, it shows that, while voters have vastly different philosophies and positions on issues, they want to fight it out in a fair way.

    People shouldn’t wonder why Republican voters vote against Republican leadership on this issue. Republican leadership has long been out-of-touch on the issue of the initiative and referendum. Some Democrats in the past have also been on the opposed to the initiative. During Kneip’s administration there was a Constitutional proposed revision of the Legislative Article that eliminated the initiative. Mostly because of that provision, people voted that revision down.

  6. Arlo Blundt 2022-06-08 18:44

    Yee Gads!!! Over 10,000 certifiably lock em up and throw away the key insane people, after judicious consideration of the candidates, voted for Taffy Howard…11 counties, 10 west river and 100%registered Republican Campbell are carried by this overt conspiracy advocate. She was strong in the Black Hills and even in some rural, east river counties. Think about what could have happened if she had raised any kind of competitive money. There is no rational explanation for her success except that the Republican Party has been swept by a mass schizophrenia.

  7. Mark Anderson 2022-06-08 19:16

    I was a baby in Armour. Glad my family left.

  8. larry kurtz 2022-06-08 19:39

    How are 66 county seats and their bureaucracies either conservative or sustainable? They’re not; but, it is the way Republican cronyism and patronage built barricades to democracy by providing benefits of the public dole to those who say they deplore big gubmint in a state that hates poor people.

    The Wanblee district should be in Oglala Lakota County then Jackson should be rolled into Haakon, Jones and Lyman Counties. Stanley and Sully should be rolled into Hughes. Give Indian Country some clout by making Oglala Lakota, Mellette, Bennett, Todd, Gregory and Tripp one county. Dewey, Ziebach and Corson should be a county. Butte, Harding and Perkins should be one. Lawrence and Meade should be one, Fall River and Custer should be one.

    Fine. Stanley might be happier being in with Lyman and the others. Combine Marshall and Brown Counties, too. East River is a dead zone: smarter people than i can figure out how to sort out that mess. Everything east of the Missouri River is Cleveland anyway.

    Let’s face it: the only worse place than Pierre or Brookings to live is DC.

  9. Arlo Blundt 2022-06-08 20:29

    What I meant to say was that over 10,000 voters in Minnehaha County and Lincoln County voted for Taffy Howard…thought she might pull 30 % west river but who knew she would be that strong in the most populous area of the state.

  10. Mark Anderson 2022-06-08 22:21

    Come on Larry, all the museums in DC are free.

  11. Jenny 2022-06-09 06:40

    Congratulations SD for voting down this oppressive amendment proposal Be proud of the closet progressive you truly are. Peace sign! (Your MN progressive neighbors).

  12. Ryan 2022-06-09 06:54

    Gives a fellow hope for legal cannabis prior to the year 2069. Nice.

  13. Richard Schriever 2022-06-10 04:13

    There is an element in the Republican (and other) voting populace to whom ideas are not the deciding characteristic among candidates. What then is? Strength. It doesn’t matter if it’s strongly CRAZY, so long as it’s strong. That is why people like HS jock Thune, and cowgirl Noem get their voted. they are perceived as “strong” people. Roots of authoritarianism.

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