I don’t know how much actual skill well-connected Republican Joan Adam brought to her job as Secretary of Health, but I do know that Kea Warne brought loads of talent and knowledge to her job as Election Division Director under the Secretary of State.
Kea Warne will no longer be with the South Dakota Secretary of State’s office, after 24 years of service.
Warne confirmed the news to Dakota News Now/KOTA Territory in a statement Monday.
“On Friday I was informed that they would not be offering me a position with their administration,” Warne said [Austin Goss, “Kea Warne Out at Secretary of State’s Office,” KSFY, 2022.12.19].
I’ve butted heads with Kea Warne about bad interpretations of petition law from her previous boss, Steve Barnett, but Warne has always been an honest arbiter of election issues. Warne’s honesty was a central reason that the state lost to me in federal court (though appeal is pending!) over the Legislature’s egregiously burdensome restrictions on ballot measure petitions: brought to the stand by the Attorney General to support the state’s case that petition deadlines have to be at least a year before the election, Warne said no, actually, her office was always able to process petitions much later and closer to election dates.
That kind of honest competence has no place in an elections office run by a radical right-wing Secretary who accepts lies about the 2020 election and who wants to undermine democracy with less accurate methods of counting votes. And in place of honesty and competence, Dakota War College reports Johnson may be bringing fellow election denier and election-law violator Logan Manhart into the elections office.
Kea Warne chose to sit out the last time we elected an idiot as Secretary of State. This time the new idiot has booted the best talent she has in the office.