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Minnehaha County Petition Restrictions: Restraining Order Expires, Judge Hears Evidence, Auditor Anderson Gave Money to Anti-Abortion Petition Blockers

I spent yesterday at the federal courthouse here in downtown Sioux Falls. I testified before United States District Judge Roberto Lange as an expert witness on petition circulation for Dakotans for Health, which is suing the Minnehaha County Commission and its right-wing election-denying auditor Leah Anderson over the new “public use” policy the commission enacted on May 2 to ban petition circulation and other First Amendment activities on most of the public space around the Minnehaha County Administration Building and Courthouse just off North Minnesota Avenue. I also observed all other testimony, closing arguments, and the judge’s commentary in the hearing from 9 a.m. until adjournment at 4 p.m.

Judge Lange’s temporary restraining order on Minnehaha County’s speech restrictions lapsed on Thursday at 4:38 p.m. The county was thus able to enforce its new policy, restricting petition circulators to a small rectangle in the parking lot 53.3 feet away from the doors citizens most frequently use on the west side of the Admin building, all day Friday. At the end of yesterday’s hearing, Judge Lange said it did not make much sense to extend that temporary restraining order with just 50 minutes left before county offices closed on the Friday before the big Memorial Day weekend. He also said temporary restraining orders (TROs) are usually issued ex parte, before parties have had a chance to submit their evidence, so it is “awkward” to grant a TRO the one allowed extension after an evidentiary hearing. Having heard the parties Friday, it is more logical to weigh the merits of the evidence as presented and decide whether to grant the preliminary injunction plaintiffs Dakotans for Health seek. Judge Lange said he will mull the case over the weekend and issue a decision next week. He said he may extend the temporary restraining order early next week if he needs more time to come to a decision on the preliminary injunction.

I have 15 legal-pad pages of notes from the day-long hearing (and that’s without any notes from the 30 minutes or so that I spent on the stand, because it’s hard to take notes while fulfilling one’s oath to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me Gaia), so, like Judge Lange, I will need some time to process everything said in court Friday into a reasonable blog report. That’s what long weekends are for, right?

CAH/DFP notes on Dakotans for Health v. Leah Anderson and Minnehaha County Commission, page 1 of 15
CAH/DFP notes on Dakotans for Health v. Leah Anderson and Minnehaha County Commission, 2023.05.26, page 1 of 15.

The county employees who testified in defense of the county’s new restrictions on petition-signing that circulators and signers have traditionally conducted outside the Admin building or decades said the policy was a response to a seeming increase in the intensity of First Amendment activity taking place that has taken place in the last six months. One witness, state’s attorney’s office manager Kim Colwill, mentioned one weird incident with a pork-plant-ban petitioner which had to take place some time in spring or early summer last year, before that municipal petition was submitted and certified in early July. But all other incidents of petitioners and petition blockers behaving impolitely, discourteously, or unprofessionally or obstructing folks ingress and egress from the Admin building—behavior which would violate both the old Petition Gatherers policy that the county had in place for years and the new far more restrictive policy on First Amendment activity corralling speakers into two small, remote rectangles on the campus—were said to have occurred during the last six months, during which time the only petition activity was signature collection for Dakotans for Health’s initiative petition to place on the November 2024 ballot a vote on writing Roe v. Wade standards for abortion rights into the South Dakota Constitution.

Judge Lange himself noted that impolite behavior by petition circulators is “counterproductive” and “inexplicable” and wondered if the perceived recent increase in violations of the county’s policy on petition gatherers that motivated the implementation of a new, more restrictive policy was the result of “a bad apple or two”. Indeed, the testimony presented seemed to identify only two circulators, David Zokaites and Donald Schryver, and one petition blocker, former legislator Manny Steele, as troublemakers. (The previous policy perhaps unconstitutionally only applied to petition gatherers and not petition opponents or other speakers. Manny Steele may thus have been free to behave discourteously in front of the Admin building doors to disrupt petition gathering, but one would think truly bad behavior by any speaker, pro con or neutral on any given petition, would result in a firm request from the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Department just across the parking lot to leave the premises or face disorderly conduct charges. The person Steele was harassing, circulator Schryver, did file for a restraining order, and Steele did agree to stay out of Schryver’s face, allegedly saying that someone else would just replace him as a petition blocker.)

One might also wonder if the perceived change in free speech activity and the passage of a new policy during a period when the only petition on the sidewalk was a petition relating to abortion was more than coincidence. Abortion rouses passions on both sides. This abortion petition drive is the first petition drive I can recall that has prompted South Dakota opponents to organize blockers to stand next to petitioners and prevent them from collecting signatures. (Out-of-state payday lenders used their corporate money to hire petition blockers and mount a decoy petition drive in 2015 to try stifling the grassroots petition drive for a 36% interest rate cap.) County employees themselves may have deeply held beliefs that cause them to be deeply troubled by seeing and hearing petitioners who favor allowing South Dakotans to vote to restore Roe v. Wade rights.

The political beliefs of witnesses did not come up as a significant topic in Friday’s evidentiary hearing. Defense witness Melinda Storley, who has worked in the Admin Building as Minnehaha County Commission assistant for seven years, testified that the issues that problematic circulators were promoting were “irrelevant” and that she never thought of the content of their speech in considering complaints.

However, in a surveillance report Storley wrote concerning incidents involving a circulator and an opponent outside the Admin Building on February 28 and March 1—a report submitted by the defense as an exhibit—Storley characterized the circulator as “pro-abortion”.

So not only was Storley thinking about the content of the circulator’s speech, but she was also characterizing that speech with a loaded and inaccurate term used by the opponents of that speech.

Auditor Leah Anderson, a known political conservative, was more circumspect in her language, putting nothing on the court record that suggested she was considering the content of the petition circulation that she is restricting or signaling her own political position on the issues to which the active petitions relate.

But Leah Anderson has been a staunch opponent of abortion rights for years. In 2007, she signed on as one of 13 sponsors of Initiated Measure 11, the abortion ban promoted by longtime Sioux Falls anti-abortion activist Leslee Unruh. Anderson served as secretary/treasurer for Unruh’s anti-abortion Alpha Center from 2013 through 2015 and on the Alpha Center’s board of directors in 2016 and 2017. In 2019, Anderson spoke at a “40 Days of Life” event at a Sioux Falls church and called for an end to abortion:

“It’s a time of prayer, to pray for an end to abortion,” speaker Leah Anderson. “I support it because I have been through abortion, so I know how it affects women and families in general” [staff, “Pro-Life Group Gathers in Sioux Falls for ’40 Days of Life’,” KSFY, 2019.03.04].

And just last year, as Dakotans for Health started its Roe v. Wade petition drive, Anderson donated $200 from her auditor campaign committee to Life Defense Fund, the committee formed by Unruh and anti-abortion activist Representative Jon Hansen (R-25/Dell Rapids) to oppose the Roe v. Wade petition:

Jon Hansen, Life Defense Fund, year-end campaign finance report for 2022, filed 2023.01.27, p. 1.
Jon Hansen, Life Defense Fund, year-end campaign finance report for 2022, filed 2023.01.27, p. 1.
Jon Hansen, Life Defense Fund, year-end campaign finance report for 2022, filed 2023.01.27, p. 10, annotated by CAH/DFP to highlight contribution from Leah Anderson's campaign committee.
Jon Hansen, Life Defense Fund, year-end campaign finance report for 2022, filed 2023.01.27, p. 10, annotated by CAH/DFP to highlight contribution from Leah Anderson’s campaign committee.

Leah Anderson gave money to help Hansen and Unruh organize petition blockers like Manny Steele who have been standing next to Roe v. Wade petitioners outside the Minnehaha County Admin Building, where Anderson now works and can monitor petition activity every day from a surveillance monitor in her office.

The political beliefs and intent of Auditor Anderson and other county officials will not affect the judicial evaluation of whether the county’s new restrictions on petitioning and other First Amendment activity outside the Admin Building and courthouse violate the Constitutional rights of petition circulators, signers, and opponents. But Melinda Storley’s word choice in an official report and Leah Anderson’s long history of activism to ban abortion, including her financial support of the active campaign to block the current Roe v. Wade petition, suggest they would not mind if the new speech restrictions for which they testified in court yesterday effectively shut down pro-choice petitioning at the Admin Building, traditionally the best regular location for gathering petition signatures in all of South Dakota.

52 Comments

  1. Donald Pay 2023-05-27 10:31

    So, there is no problem. Three or four instances of shouting in 40 years isn’t a reason to shut down free speech. It’s a few people getting over heated. Yeah, that’s regrettable, and counterproductive, as the judge said. It doesn’t do the issue any favors by creating a scene, and that goes for any side of the issue. If the problem with particular circulators or blockers continues, just arrest those folks, but don’t restrict everyone else’s First Amendment rights.

  2. All Mammal 2023-05-27 10:49

    They know they have already lost to progress. Yet, if we allow this to fly, we might as well grow tiny little mustaches and start goose stepping straight to labor camps and delivery rooms.

  3. P. Aitch 2023-05-27 13:54

    Cory, sir. Thank you sincerely for your steadfast commitment to public awareness.

  4. P. Aitch 2023-05-27 13:58

    PS … remember when “ulterior motives” were disguised?
    Everyone knows what’s trying to get changed is wrong but now discrimination is just ….

  5. oldtimerDon 2023-05-27 20:18

    Cory, I wish more people in SD had your courage and fortitude.

  6. grudznick 2023-05-27 21:44

    I am surprised you were not challenged about being an “expert” witness. Perhaps the other lawyers didn’t really understand blogging.

  7. Mike Lee Zitterich 2023-05-28 10:27

    Those who are to afraid of walking their neighborhood, going door to door, precinct by precinct, county by county, talking to all the people holding public events, town halls, let alone sitting down with them on a couch, discussing the topic of which you wish to petition – is not a worthy petition drive. Hard work pays off, and unless you are willing to meet directly with the people yourself, standing on a busy intersection, or a public parking lot is the most ignorant, and unprofessional means of petitioning, for your not truly reaching out to ALL the people of the State, allowing them to voice their grievances, opinions, allowing for debate, let alone allowing people to discuss potential changes to the initiative or resolution itself.

    The one thing I do not like, is walking up to the Minnehaha County Admin Building or the Sioux Falls Regional U.S Postal Office and someone coming up to me to beg me to sign their petition. The first thing I ask them is what will the initiative do if adopted, then I ask them, why should I vote for the initiative, third – who is paying them to stand at that location, and finally – fourth, why do I want to place the initiative on the public ballot…

    As I did for the Medicaid Initiative, I asked the very questions, gave my reasons why I did not support it, and I asked them, to go out into the neigborhood and speak to more of the people to gather more information on the over all opinion of the people. When they told me that was to much work, I told them, then I cannot sign the petition for “you” are unable to debate the issue at hand. It did not help, I was heavily supportative of Amendment C, to stop the spending initiatives, that I had to oppose Amendment D.

  8. Bruce 2023-05-29 09:40

    The idea of a petition signature gatherer is not to debate to get a signature. The effort to gather signatures for a ballot is to bring the debate into the open for the voters to then have a platform for open discussion. The idea that MLZ tries to bring forward is not what the petition process is about.

    I sign every petition brought to me because I want the debate and the vote. This is the process. Why should I debate or argue or insult the intelligence of everyone I meet? My job when passing a petition is to gather the signatures to open the public square to a full airing of the issue. Then let the voters decide. If MLZ and his type do not want the full process to work, stay away.

  9. All Mammal 2023-05-29 11:15

    Mr. Zitterich- if you don’t even like a circulator approaching you outside the courthouse, I can’t imagine how you would respond if a circulator parked in front of your home, possibly in a sherminator that leaks oil, and the volunteer doesn’t look at all like you, perhaps he or she is south Asian or black or has dreadlocked hair, steps up onto your porch, and the moment you take your boots and shirt off and put your feet up after a long day of work, your dogs start going nuts and you look up and see a foreign-looking young person looking at you through your screen door, holding a clip board. Man, please. You already said you think of circulators as ignorant. Folks like you are the reason folks like me feel much more safe circulating in public places. And you sure sound more and more entitled because you think you are so special you need to take up a petitioner’s entire afternoon debating you when the question is simple: Do you want to sign so ALL the voters get a chance to have a voice in the decision? It should take no more than 5-10 minutes to schmooze a person out of their signature. When 50,000 signatures are needed, ain’t nobody got time for a guy who thinks he is special.

  10. Mike Lee Zitterich 2023-05-29 14:19

    Oh big bad Mr. ALL MAMMAL, if anyone sounds selfish and privileged, it is you. You fail to do your job, and you are upset that I support petitioners who take the time to go out and meet with people in their neighborhoods, going door to door, holding events at neighborhood parks, churches, schools, creating town hall like forums, etc? You sound so very ignorant, that you make assumptions about who I am as a person, and I say time and time again, I am NOT afraid to go out and talk to as many people in my community about any such subject regardless of the fact I agree with it or not. PEOPLE know what I stand for, and they know me as a person who listens to them, let alone is not afraid to them my stance on the very topic or issue. I will sit down with you anytime, any place, so long as you are respectful in demeanor, agree to listen, and agree to be a man or woman of honesty. We can talk state or local politics, or sports, or used cars, or we can talk about our future generations, our children, let alone we can talk about what makes South Dakota such a great state to live in. But I will not tolerate your so called assumptions, hate speech, nor slanderish comments.

    Mike Zitterich
    (605) 376-0527
    zitterich76@gmail.com

    contact me anytime!

  11. e platypus onion 2023-05-29 14:34

    If Zit is as good as he advertises hizownself, he is likely the only one of the magat persuasion.

  12. All Mammal 2023-05-29 16:38

    Sorry I offended you, Mr. Zitterich. I have read a couple times what you have already said about yourself and just wanted you to understand that petition circulators are not commissioned to court you or beg for your blessing. It is a simple yes or no. And usually a bit of explanation and sometimes even persuasion. It is always respectful and jovial.

    Also- I am not sure if you are aware, sir, a 6 year old was just shot two days ago in SD and the shooter has not been apprehended…. just days before that, another shooting assault took place, not far from where I live. And last Sunday, a body was discovered not far from that. With the likelihood of violence that occurs within our great state, do you not think I have any justification to be weary of driving miles up a gravel driveway to approach an armed stranger to ask him or her if they’d be interested in signing my petition? Forgive me, but it seems like a risky deal. I would have a conniption if I had a daughter volunteering to literally put her life at risk for you to feel like it was fair enough for you.

    I really don’t know of ANY petition in my day going around that wasn’t something designed to help the people. If there was ever anything you cared enough about, I highly doubt you would adhere to your own demands to collect 50,000 signatures…. More power to you if I am mistaken.

  13. Arlo Blundt 2023-05-29 17:20

    Mr. Zittrich–quit being so thin skinned…you come on this site, known for being a free swinging, heart on your sleeve, Liberal opinion forum, and provide lengthy and outrageous interpretations of the US Constitution: interpretations which,when put into practice, often land adherents in prison. You seem to expect the correspondents to be fawned into accepting your balderdash. I think the correspondents on this site have accepted your participation with civility and courtesy. Back off, loosen up, and accept Mr. Grudznick’s well tendered advice to tighten up your comments.

  14. Bob Newland 2023-05-29 18:04

    I don’t mind anyone who offends Zitterich. I suspect most folks who don’t love Kristi do offend him.

  15. Nick Nemec 2023-05-29 19:08

    Mr. Zittrich a simple no will suffice.

  16. Donald Pay 2023-05-29 19:26

    Mike Z., Give it up. Collecting denature in the public square is a part of the culture and custom of South Dakota. It’s not up to you where, when and how people engage in their rights to free speech and to petition for redress of grievances. People are free to collect signatures on public property. They are not free to collect to collect signatures on private property, unless they have the permission of the owner or tennent.

    I had no problem walking my neighborhood or yours with my petitions. I learned relatively quickly, however, that it was far more productive in the mornings and afternoons to petition in the public square. You are free to collect your signatures however you want.

  17. Donald Pay 2023-05-29 19:29

    Mike Z., Give it up. Collecting signatures n the public square is a part of the culture and custom of South Dakota. It’s not up to you where, when and how people engage in their rights to free speech and to petition for redress of grievances. People are free to collect signatures on public property. They are not free to collect to collect signatures on private property, unless they have the permission of the owner or tennent.

    I had no problem walking my neighborhood or yours with my petitions. I learned relatively quickly, however, that it was far more productive in the mornings and afternoons to petition in the public square. You are free to collect your signatures however you want.

  18. Mike Zitterich 2023-05-29 20:45

    I send out mailers, inviting people to a town hall event, usually at a local business, like a small bar and grille, perhaps a cafe, or a video lottery casino to host a fundraiser, petition drive, let alone a learning and listening session to allow people to gather, ask questions, catch the wind, and have some fun together. You know, you can pay to obtain precinct names and addresses ya know…the purpose is to send out mailers, to organize your neighborhoods, etc

    A very professional way to conduct petitioners… that is how I do it, and will always do it.

  19. Donald Pay 2023-05-29 20:58

    Mike Z., Good for you. We did those sorts of events, too. There are a lot of ways to collect signatures and organize around issues. When we were organizing in Pierre to stop the giant hog farm we had a number of such community meetings. Also on the nuclear waste and mining initiatives we had those sorts of get togethers. That’s just good community organizing. But so is petitioning at the public square or courthouse. There’s not just one way to do it.

  20. All Mammal 2023-05-29 22:11

    It actually sounds like we mostly agree. I have gone door to door and had announcements made at concerts and asked bar and store owners permission to solicit patrons and every other which way you mentioned, besides the mailer mode. A good circulator utilizes all kinds of tactics.

  21. All Mammal 2023-05-29 22:25

    When all else fails, it’s hard to argue the efficiency of a little subtle coquettishness.

  22. Bob Newland 2023-05-30 09:28

    Hmmm. I’m picturing Zitterich, the coquette.

  23. Mike Lee Zitterich 2023-05-30 09:34

    There is a reason why some of us, and I am not the only one, who wishes to change the petition process of placing resolutions and initiatives on a ballot, to include forcing petition groups to get signatures in no less than 60% of the Counties. That shows the people, based in fact, and law, that they have reached out to the majority of the state, rather than just a small group of people on the corner of 6th and Minnesota Avenue in the State’s largest city, where it is easy to manipulate the vote knowing that presumerbally all you need is 210,000 voters to win a popular vote. The rest of the “State” knows that 70% of the “registered voters” reside in the 10 largest cities of the state, but ‘we’ also must protect those people in the smaller communities, which make up 90% of the land area of the state. We proposed the 60% rule a few years ago, but could not agree to adopt it, however, what harm is it to force petition gathers to reach out to a large majority of the “State” if they truly believe their concept is right for South Dakota? The rule would also prevent “National Lobbyists” from manipulating S.D Voters by only gaining their support in the likes of Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Brookings, Yankton, Watertown, Aberdeen, Chamberlain, Mitchell, and Huron – presumerably, the 9 largest most progressive cities of the “State”.

    If I am a petition gatherer this coming year, and I am trying to gain the support of a vast majority of our population, I would much rather seek, and go out and gain the most opinions of every citizen across the “State” who may or may not agree with me, let alone want to know what, and what not those people are saying in both Agriculture Communities, let alone Large Urban Type Communitiets, capturing the greater collective opinions of Urban vs Rural mindsets.

    The only means of doing this, is building a Petition Committee of which provides you at least 1 Committee Member per County, let alone Precinct. This provides you an over all “greater ability: to gather as many opinions as much as possible. Each one of those “Committee Members” then have the luxury of meeting small groups of people, holding Town Halls, Learning and Listening Sessions, fully capable of allowing the citizens to amend, change, or fix mistakes related to your “Concept Plan”. A plan of which you wish them to adopt into codified law.

    This is why ‘we’ build committees, for the ability of forming groups of people, with the goal to discuss public affairs of our state, our counties, our local communities.

    This is why ‘we” have County and Precinct Committee Persons, we elect them to serve in those exact rolls to seek out, and gain the opinions of the people making up the “State” – each County has a Committee Person, each Precinct has a Committee Person.
    Precinct Committeemen and Women are elected for two year terms and represent the precincts at Statewide, and Countywide conventions, while serving in a role to reach out to the residents in each precinct in order to help register voters, let alone meet with legislators to lobby and help canvass the state in support of legislation and candidates.

    Responsibilities:

    Attend Central Committee meetings.
    Become a voter registrar and recruit new voters.
    Circulate petitions for candidates prior to the primary.
    Canvass your precinct in support of our candidates.
    Promote strong election ethics.
    Recruit poll for election day and early voting.
    Educate, Inform, work with the voters connecting them to representatives.
    Be an advocate for the interests of the voters in your precinct.
    Discuss, Adopt Resolutions, Initiatives, and Choose At-Large Representatives

    Precinct Committee Persons main job is to help educate, inform, and organize the voters within the precinct, with the intent to nominate legislative candidates, and to represent their political party to help push forward party agenda across the State.

    And, that is how ‘we’ form a vast opinion of the State, and when a large # of Precincts begin to adopt resolutions to accept each other, to work together, to adopt statewide initiatives – then you have the means of petitioning, and earning the respect of ALL CITIZENS.

  24. Donald Pay 2023-05-30 09:46

    Uh, no, Mike Z. You and your little group of elitists don’t get to tell people how they collect signatures. You get to do whatever you want in collecting your signatures, but don’t you dare try to tell how WE, THE PEOPLE, decide how and where and when WE, THE PEOPLE petition. That is NOT your right. That is WE, THE PEOPLE’S right under the CONSTITUTION. STOP IT.

  25. e platypus onion 2023-05-30 10:38

    If I am a petition gatherer this coming year, and I am trying to gain the support of a vast majority of our population, You admitted 70% of the pop lives in 10 cities. Is 70% not the vast majority of the citizens of the state? Or do you consider 70% to be too small a sample of people’s collective opinions? I pretty sure you asre fill of it.

  26. e platypus onion 2023-05-30 10:42

    Mike Z and rabbit hole refugee Johnny Dale sound like they are joined at the 5G hip.

  27. e platypus onion 2023-05-30 10:43

    I pretty sure you asre fill of it. Should read “I am pretty sure you are full of it”.

  28. Mike Lee Zitterich 2023-05-30 11:19

    You people miss the very point I was speaking on, and for that, You all may need to go back to High School to learn Civics.

    Nowhere in my above comments did I say anything about restricting your right to petition, or to say how to petition. You people love to place words in peoples mouths, that is your biggest problem right there.

    Again, and I will say it one more time – the “Voters” of each precinct propped up, and elected 1 of their own to represent them in Countywide Committees, to represent their small precinct during those meetings, voicing their shared opinions before a larger group of people inside OUR COUNTY.

    When, the greater # of Counties begin to share the over all common opinions across the State, meaning, as the PEOPLE of each County begin to vote on, and adopt Resolutions to promise to do something, let alone to latch on to support specific Initiatives, then, and only then do you begin to formulate a “greater opinion” of the State, of which, makes it much easier to gain support for your Statewide Initiatives.

    Standing on one small street corner at 6th Street and Minnesota Avenue is NOT providing you a statewide opinion – it is merely presenting an opinion of a SMALL BLOCK of voters who may NOT share the same ideals, morals, values, let alone agree with other blocks of people.

    WE are a REPUBLIC, not a Democracy, “WE” rule not based on the consent of the voters, but the CONSENT OF THE MAJORITY OF OUR POPULATION, as they begin to agree to consent to be ruled, or governed any such manner

    You people seemingly want the easiest pathway to place your initiatives on a ballot, without first getting to know what the vast majority of your fellow Citizens think or do not think. YOU seemingly wish to allow for some outside faction of people to come into the state to manipulate the voter(s), deriving from 9 large cities, but yet you completely wish to ignore the feelings, opinions, and thoughts of those in RURAL communities….

    News Flash, that is why we have AT LARGE REPRESENTATIVES – to balance out the popular opinion of Urban Communities, while protecting the difference of opinion of those in Rural Communities, not allowing 9 cities to force 100 small townships to be forced to accept.

    The Governor must EQUALLY represent ALL 66 Counties (689 Precincts) not allowing 9 counties to force the other 500+ to give up their rights…

    The Mayor must EQUALLY represent all 5 City Council Districts, (50+ Precincts), not allowing 1 district or precinct to rule over the others.

    The PRESIDENT must EQUALLY represent ALL 50 States, not allowing 10 Blue States to over rule, control 30 Red States.

    In America, the Popular Vote is NOT the know all, see all, trust all …. thanks to how “WE” broke up the Governing Process grounded in Counties, Districts, Precincts, etc – we rule the our political subdivisions based on the greater will of the majority, with each County, District, or Precinct having an EQUAL SAY, EQUAL VOTE.

  29. P. Aitch 2023-05-30 12:00

    Mr. Zitterich is an example of “losers lament”. Instead of admitting he’s a loser he spreads lies and claims he’s been cheated by those who fully followed the rules. Hey, Mr. Zitterich. That tactic didn’t work for Trump and the readers here see through you like a cheap plastic window.

  30. Bonnie B Fairbank 2023-05-30 12:14

    YAY ME. I’m one of those “you people” again.

    You write as if you were a dull third grader, loser.

  31. Donald Pay 2023-05-30 12:17

    Uh, no, Mike Z. Drop it. In South Dakota and in the majority of states voters have the final say on all or most legislation. In 49 state voters have the final say on all constitutional amendments. Tell me again about how democracy doesn’t mean anything?

    It’s kind of stupid to think that the only place people collect signatures is at the Minnehaha County Courthouse. People collect signatures all over the place. I collected signatures at a sale barn, at numerous Rapid City Thrillers games, at the Black Hills Stock Show, at local music events, at the mall, at the boat show, going door to door, at fairs, at events we organized, etc., etc. The “public square,” however, has long been associated with petitioning in American history. You seem to like to do your organizing in beer-filled rooms. Get people drunk enough and they will agree to most anything. The public square is transparent and largely sober. No beer-filled rooms at the courthouse, unless you’ve got one there, Mike Z.

    I remember the corporate farm amendment petitioning where people from rural areas petitioned on an issue of most concern to rural populations. They had people at the Minnehaha Courthouse. You want to know why? Because that’s where people are.

  32. All Mammal 2023-05-30 13:59

    I think next time I go door to door with my Codify Roe petition, it will be a great help and an honor to rock a vintage Bob Newland for SD Governor T-shirt. It may be necessary to bring a stick and a spare shirt, just in case an envious, political fashionista says the right number…… I love it so much, that number would have to make my mouth dry and my eyes wet. Otherwise, the stick will come in handy to keep their limy hooks off. If I die petitioning, I want to at least look cool.

  33. Mike Lee Zitterich 2023-05-30 14:31

    The voters are NOT the end all, see all, trust all on adopting our laws. if that was the case, Amendment A would have never been defeated prior to July 1st, if that was the case, IM22 would have never been lobbied for, and challenged in the S.D Legislature. The Voters are no more privileged in adopting our laws anymore than the Legislature is privileged in adopting laws. The FINAL AUTHORITY of all laws going into effect rely on the CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED , as such any concerned CITIZEN of the State can legally, bring forth a legal challenge, grievance, question during the period between December 1st and June 30th. Your so called LAW will never stand if the Citizens can quickly collaborate and over turn it quickly by not granting consent.

  34. larry kurtz 2023-05-30 15:20

    John Wiik’s Republicans have effectively taken power from voters because they believe a supernatural extraterrestrial is coming to purge Earth of sinners.

  35. larry kurtz 2023-05-30 15:22

    When only 6% of voters turn out the dominionists have already won.

  36. larry kurtz 2023-05-30 15:24

    When they say, “kill them all and let god sort ‘’em out” take them at their word.

  37. e platypus onion 2023-05-30 15:41

    The PRESIDENT must EQUALLY represent ALL 50 States, not allowing 10 Blue States to over rule, control 30 Red States.
    Only when the potus is a Democrat. the only party drumpf favored was himself and some of his unqualified judicial appointees are legislating from the bench to control women and their reproductive rights.

  38. All Mammal 2023-05-30 17:08

    There is evidence out there that shows isolated, rural people are the ones easier to manipulate. It is rather simple: point them towards outsiders and their fears become radical extremism. Makes sense when you consider prisoners kept in solitary confinement. They start hearing voices and get so paranoid. It takes less than three days of isolation to do permanent brain damage.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=iqKdEhx-dD4
    One of my favorite brains, Michael Stevens did his own experiment on Mind Field.

    Btw, Mr. Zitterich- 1. I never failed to do my job 2. I’m not upset 3. I didn’t use hate speech toward you 4. You accused everyone else of not having reading comprehension while you have still ignored my concern about going miles up remote driveways to petition when our state is chalkablocka full of gun violence and rapists. You yourself complained about being bothered by a petition circulator approaching you outside a courthouse, which makes me rightfully weary to approach you on your porch after you get home from work. 5. I know now to be mindful of your robust sensitivity. 6. You’re a white man in a red state, not a victim. 7. Tolerance and democracy go hand in hand. Glad to have ya around.

  39. P. Aitch 2023-05-30 17:58

    Mr. Zitterich is just a misleading, invalid, misinformation flatulant. The voter are 99.9% the end all in 99.9% of our America.
    If this number doesn’t sync with where you choose to live your politics is your own personal problem.

  40. Mike Lee Zitterich 2023-05-30 19:15

    Oh good lord man, South Dakota is NOT full of murderers and Rapist, that is the type of comments that make you look insane man. Stop it. You are just stirring fear in the minds of people, if anyone is playing mind control, it are the democrats on this page.

    There is a ‘reason’ why all your huge so called Democrat Initiatives get over turned, and never make it past June 30th in this State. The majority of our population do not trust the “Small Number of Voters” of which adopt liberal progressive initiatives such as Amendment’s W, Y, and Z, not to mention Initiatives 22 a few years ago. Someone, in some County are always challenging them either in COURT or the Legislature to strike them down before the Effective Date. So yes, I am correct, the VOTERS are NOT the know all, see all, trust all.

    Just wait until we tighten up the election rules in the future…things are gonna be a little more saner. We are soon gonna root out the frand in our elections.

  41. Donald Pay 2023-05-30 21:38

    Well, sure, Mike Z., the courts are always available for citizens with standing to challenge any law, ordinance or policy. For example the Minnehaha County Commission policy to throttle free speech and petitioning for redress of grievances has been taken to court.

    Now let’s deal with “the small number of voters.” People who vote on initiatives are far, far more than the number of voters who vote for precinct committeemen, who are the lowest level of political apparatchik that exists. That “office” shouldn’t exist, in my opinion. It’s a partisan office that takes taxpayer money to be place on the ballot. In the interest of conservative government you should demand the elimination of that office, but like every low-level apparatchik, you seem to be too smitten with your title and your imagined power. They have those kind of offices in Communist China, as the lowest level of the cadres. Sorry, WE, THE PEOPLE, don’t need no cadres.

  42. Mike Lee Zitterich 2023-05-30 23:35

    WOW, you favor getting rid of the one pure form of GRASS ROOTS MOVEMENTS of the “State” ?

    YOu realize it does NOT cost the State, nor the people a dime to rally around and place Committeemen and women on the ballot right?

    “WE” Committeemen and Women work for free, are stewards of the PEOPLE, and work to help educate, inform, and unite the people in our Precincts, within our Counties…”WE” hold Meetings, Commissions, Conventions, which do more for the PEOPLE to gain a greater opinion of the people than the legislature.

    I represent 5,000 people in my neighborhood, and work tirelessly keeping them informed, and educated on what is occuring.

    You are just upset, that “WE” hold these positions of status to speak for the very people in our neighborhoods..

  43. All Mammal 2023-05-31 01:45

    https://volanteonline.com/2023/02/south-dakota-second-highest-rape-rate/

    The FBI listed Rapid City as numero uno in rapes per capita for nearly a decade until Anchorage surpassed us to become the new rape capital. We’re still a hot 2nd. Sooo…. you are wrong on that.
    72.6 people in 100,000 are getting raped. That does NOT include reservations. That ONLY includes REPORTED rapes. There are less than 1% of rape cases resulting in a conviction and less than that resulting in JAIL time….. soooo there are lots of reasons to listen to warn women and girls to stay in well-lit, populated areas in SD if you do not want to be violated. That is not fear mongering. It’s about surviving. It must be nice not to care about those things. Thanks for your concern. Not.

    SD has 1.5 X the national average of reported rapes.

    https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2019/crime-in-the-u.s.-2019/tables/table-8/table-8-state-cuts/south_dakota.xls

    In the last week alone, 4 shootings took place. That’s only Rapid City. Sooo…..a 6 year old was shot last week and a police officer shot and killed a man who shot another man just today just blocks from where I was putzing around my garden. I don’t know if you appreciate SD the way it is in reality for women and children and young people. Because I acknowledge the dangers and areas that need improvement does not mean I love South Dakota any less than you. It is wild out here for most of us. We work and want to have as much say as retired white conservative men. That’s all.

  44. Donald Pay 2023-05-31 08:22

    Mike Z., WE, THE PEOPLE don’t need party apparatchiks getting between us and our self-government. There is a cost to printing your name for what is a partisan functionary on a ballot. Precinct committee posts have no governmental function. They carry water for a party. As taxpayers we need to be cognizant that this cost, small as it may be, is a socialist subsidization of the corrupt party system. Get over the fact that you are some part of “grassroots movements.” Grassroots movements are non-partisan and work to address issues of concern to all. Your self-aggrandizement shows in this statement: “I represent 5,000 people in my neighborhood, and work tirelessly keeping them informed, and educated on what is occuring. (sic)” You don’t represent anyone, really. You represent your party’s needs. You are an party apparatchik.

  45. Mike Lee Zitterich 2023-05-31 13:06

    I carry no ones water, I can guanrantee that ..

    You are just upset that the PEOPLE of each County elect people to represent them in Committees and at Conventions.

    When the PEOPLE are well organized by means of Counties, the Legislature will lose its power…

    “WE” have the power to meet in committees, to discuss, and to nominate, and to share with the people in our precincts, our CHOICE for At-Large Representatives aka Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Auditor, State Treasurer, Land Commissioner.

    IF the people in my PRECINCT support Joe Smith, but the Republican Party Executives support Kristi Noem, I will cast a vote for Joe Smith.

    If Joe Smith gets the majority of all Delegates, County and Precinct Committee Votes – then he becomes the “face” of the Republican Party, and goes on the General Ballot in November giving the voters a Democrat v Republican to choose from.

    I will never speak in defense of the Republican Party, I will continue to speak in defense of the wishes of the PEOPLE in my Precinct.

  46. All Mammal 2023-05-31 13:18

    Mr. Pay makes a very good point. Printer ink is extremely expensive so the cost of even one extra character on the ballot comes out of THE PEOPLE. I also agree the multiple levels of representatives are unnecessary and are for menial status purposes only. With the advancement of locomotion and how far the Pony Express has come, WE THE PEOPLE no longer need elected representatives when we have the ability to directly participate. ALL THE POWER TO ALL THE PEOPLE. Unless, that is, you’re scared of real Democracy.

  47. larry kurtz 2023-05-31 15:27

    Just say it: radical christianic terrorism.

    The threat of violence is how Republicans have erased local control in South Dakota and how readily the far white wing will control my home state’s seven mountains. From Mrs. Noem’s grip on government, her attacks on public education, on arts and entertainment, the media all the while waving the flags of family, religionism and the prosperity gospel: it’s dominionism on a scale even Lee Schoenbeck can’t comprehend.

    https://www.sdnewswatch.org/stories/south-dakota-abortion-ballot-measure-petition-minnehaha-county-courthouse/

  48. P. Aitch 2023-05-31 16:10

    Hear, hear All Mammal.

  49. All Mammal 2023-05-31 17:52

    P. Aitch- my niece is going to be a sophomore in high school and has been planning a trip with her bestie and the bestie’s grandmother to Florida for a year now and it is making me so nervous. They are good kids. My niece is a corn-fed toe-head and her friend is the opposite.
    Is the situation in Florida to the point I need to go beyond just cautioning them and actually tell them Not to color their hair, wear certain colorful bracelets, forbid playing grabass like holding hands, piggyback rides or ‘acting queer’ in any way? They’re young and free and goofy and just so careless. I have dropped the dime about the no-travel advisories, but they’re still going. Do you have any advice on specific looks or words or behavior they should avoid so they won’t be targeted? I know it goes against what is right, but… I won’t be there to team up with you like Paul Bearer and Undertaker.. haha

  50. P. Aitch 2023-05-31 18:55

    @ All Mammal – What I know most about Florida people’s violence against LGBTQ+ is what I’ve been told, in the last two weeks, by my daughter and her wife while I’ve been vacationing here in Tampa and at DisneyWorld.
    Yes. Tell them not to be excessively overt in their normal public behavior towards each other. Young lesbian girls are a target in Florida .

  51. All Mammal 2023-06-01 08:52

    Thanks for giving it to me straight, P. Aitch. I hope Fla puts it down for best Pride Month in history and you wind up finding glitter in your hair for the next decade.

  52. P. Aitch 2023-06-01 09:07

    You’re welcome, dear friend. – Darling daughter is a lesbian registered nurse at the biggest hospital in Tampa. A concern of hers is that Florida law allows medical professionals (Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, x-ray therapists, x-ray technicians, etc.) to deny medical care to anyone whose lifestyle and gender identity that medical professional doesn’t agree with.
    e.g.- If a transgender person is having a life threatening reaction to a medication and is transported to an emergency room every medical professional involved from the ambulance tech to the e.r. Doctor can simply walk away from the situation with no explanation required.
    Imagine living with that scenario lurking in the back of your mind daily.

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