There was an article at the Mitchell Daily Republic website yesterday about the two sides clashing on Amendment V (for vile). If you’re not familiar, this is the ballot measure funded by out of state interests, which would hide party affiliations, as well as ensure that no independents or third party candidates would ever appear on a November ballot again.
As noted in the Mitchell Daily Republic:
Neither of the state’s political parties, which would see their organizations wiped from the ballot if Amendment V were to pass, offered support of the initiative.
South Dakota Democratic Party Executive Director Suzanne Jones Pranger said her party will remain neutral on Amendment V as some state Democrats have come out both for and against the proposal.
Unlike its counterpart, the South Dakota GOP has taken a stance on the proposal.
Ryan Budmayr, executive director of the South Dakota Republican Party, said his party opposes the proposal, citing the “big money out of New York” that is supporting the effort. And while supporters say Amendment V would favor individual voters rather than political parties, Budmayr has a different view of the proposal.
“This is the farthest thing from nonpartisan,” Budmayr said. “The guys running this are former Democrats, party bosses, staffers, and I don’t think South Dakota should be fooled.”
Given the lukewarm opposition, at best, that the Democrat party apparatus is offering, I have to openly question whether the State Democrat Party is suppressing their party members who actually want to be identified as a political party, as opposed to a petition gathering organization.
However, aside from the Democrat party leaders, who mention dissent but give it no credence, it appears that at least a couple Democrat party loyalists are out there who recognize how bad Amendment V will be for South Dakota.
At RapidCityJournal.com today, Democrat stalwart Jay Davis voices his dissent from the weak-spined Democrat leaders who are happy to shed the Democrat label, mistakenly thinking that hiding who they are from voters will help them gain more offices. And Davis correctly points out that in conservative South Dakota, it’s more likely that Democrats are going to find themselves shut out:
Amendment V would make our elections far less transparent by eliminating all party labels except in the presidential race. Ironically, the race for president is the only one where virtually everyone already knows the party affiliation of the major candidates.
When we’re dealing with “down ballot” races like School and Public Lands or the Public Utilities Commission, even well-informed voters may not be familiar with the candidates or their party affiliation. Amendment V assumes that every voter had done extensive research before going to the polls. That’s just not realistic.
This year, California has an open U.S. Senate seat for the first time in 24 years as long-time incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer is retiring. While South Dakota leans Republican in most elections, California has become strongly Democratic. Due to their new “jungle primary” system, they face a choice between two Democratic women in November. No other names will be on the ballot. Polls show that California Republicans are disgusted and many won’t bother to vote in that contest. While the “jungle primary” was supposed to improve voter turnout, this year it did the opposite and voter turnout was down.
In South Dakota, a “jungle primary” would often give us a general election choice between two conservative Republicans. Even in elections for major offices, every Democrat, independent, Libertarian and swing voter would be disenfranchised. The June primary, which always has a much smaller turnout than the November general election, is the only place where a diverse choice of candidates would be likely.