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SD Open Primaries Prepares to Launch Initiative Petition Drive

Whoo-hoo! We are perhaps just days away from another initiative petition hitting the streets. South Dakota Open Primaries announced yesterday that it has submitted the final draft of its initiative petition to Secretary of State Monae Johnson for approval for circulation. Once Secretary Johnson OKs the petition and associated circulator forms, SD Open Primaries can start collecting the 35,017 signatures it needs to put this useful amendment to a statewide vote in the 2024 general election.

“We’re very excited to launch the signature drive and begin talking to voters across South Dakota about our 2024 open primaries ballot initiative,” said De Knudson, treasurer of South Dakota Open Primaries, the campaign backing the effort. “By adopting open primaries, we will ensure that all South Dakota voters, regardless of party affiliation, can fully voice their opinions in future elections.”

Knudson, who is also one of the three official sponsors of the initiative, hand delivered the required documentation, including the proposed petition and circulator handouts, to the South Dakota Secretary of State’s office at the State Capitol in Pierre.

“Our message is simple,” said Joe Kirby, chairman of South Dakota Open Primaries. “It’s time to let all voters vote.”

The proposed 2024 ballot initiative would amend the state constitution to establish open primary elections for governor, Congress, the state Legislature, and county elective offices. In an open primary election, all candidates compete in a single primary open to all voters regardless of party affiliation…. The two candidates that receive the most votes would advance to the general election. The ballot would continue to indicate the party affiliation, or lack thereof, for each candidate [Drey Samuelson, spokesman for South Dakota Open Primaries, “South Dakota Open Primaries Campaign Submits Initiative Petition to the Secretary of State for Final Review,” South Dakota Standard, 2023.04.12].

Thanks to the Legislature’s capitulation to the courts and the First Amendment, SD Open Primaries and anyone else trying to put a constitutional amendment or an initiated law on the 2024 general election ballot has until May 7, 2024, to organize a petition drive and collect the necessary signatures from registered voters—again, 35,017 for initiated amendments, 17,509 for initiated laws.

SD Open Primaries will be the second group to take an initiative petition to the streets this election cycle. Dakotans for Health is the only ballot question committee currently circulating a ballot question petition. They began collecting signatures for an amendment to codify Roe v. Wade in South Dakota’s Constitution on November 5, 2022.


  1. Mark Anderson 2023-04-13 12:42

    Will South Dakota weed out the loonies? The tension builds. No drum roll yet.

  2. All Mammal 2023-04-13 23:26

    Howdy my fine friends. Just a friendly reminder how sweet it is to be with you in the United States of America. I’m glad we get to be Americans.
    This video is also a good reminder of our fortune and should actually be re-aired every once in awhile. It is a post WWII warning about being a sucker. Relevant as ever.

  3. cibvet 2023-04-14 01:20

    All Mammal—Excellent watch and very appropriate considering the state of the Union.

  4. David Bergan 2023-04-14 06:53

    I think this is a good amendment. Hopefully it’ll pass and the sequel will be ranked choice voting.

    Thanks De and Drey!

    Kind regards,

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