I was speaking with one of our Statewide officials today about the ballot measures, when he brought up an issue I hadn’t considered on Amendment V. The consequences of V dawned on me, because one of them is being used by a sponsor of Referred Law 19 as a reason to vote against that measure.
On the ballot position statement for Referred Law 19, opponent to the measure Cory Heidelberger notes that the measure needs to be defeated because..
RL 19 moves the deadline for candidate petitions from the end of March to the beginning of March. Candidates for Legislature would have to decide whether to run or not before the Legislative Session ends.
Candidates would lose most of the longer, warmer days of March to circulate petitions. In exchange, RL 19 gives them December, whose short days, cold weather, and holiday busyness make it the worst month for petitioning. These conditions mean fewer candidates will run for office.
Basically, aside from trying to tell us that liberals can’t collect petition signatures in the cold, the argument against it is that “Candidates for Legislature would have to decide whether to run for office before the legislative session ends.”
But take a look at Amendment V. In our discussion today, my statewide official friend pointed out thar among the many things V does is trigger and accelerate a race of general election proportions to take place at the time of the primary election – which will have the effect of starting the election process far, far sooner than it would have for many state offices currently selected at the political party conventions.
Ironically, those opposing RL 19 at the same time they support Amendment V ignore the unalterable reality that Amendment V would trigger a widespread acceleration of all of the statewide races, including and especially constitutional offices, which had previously not had primary elections in early June.
If Amendment V passes, look for the election process for all of these offices to begin earlier than ever in 2017, with potentially earlier petition collection being sought by all of the statewide candidates, since they would want to have that process out of the way before they began their campaigns in earnest.
When it comes to the ballot measures, it’s ok to want the length of the election to stay the same. But, if that’s the case, you can’t oppose RL19, and support Amendment V. Because the passage of either would have similar effects on lengthening the election season for South Dakotans.