Final day of session coincides with filing deadline. And seriously, it’s Registered mail. Not Certified.

With the final day of session for the year for the purposes of addressing the Governor’s vetoes coming on the same day as the final day of legislative petitions, there’s certain to be a significant pile of petitions coming in the door of the Secretary of State’s office tomorrow.

2016_gop_primaryWe’re still missing candidates who have announced, as well as a significant number of current legislators who haven’t said no. So, I’d anticipate an explosion in the number of candidates (at least on the Republican side) as well as an increase in the number of primaries.

I heard word of at least two new primaries over the weekend that could arise. But, talk is cheap. It all depends on who files, and – in their first test of the election – who managed to meet the first challenge of the election in following the instructions of “how to fill out an election petition.”

And as I think I note every election, if you’re going to mail it, do so REGISTERED MAIL. There’s a good reason for it.  As I noted two years ago…

Under South Dakota Election law, the definitions expressly note that “Registered mail,” does not include certified mail;”   and more specifically:

12-6-4.   Petition required to place candidate’s name on primary ballot–Place of filing. Except as provided by § 12-5-4 and as may be otherwise provided in chapter 12-9, no candidate for any office to be filled, or nomination to be made, at the primary election, other than a presidential election, may have that person’s name printed upon the official primary election ballot of that person’s party, unless a petition has been filed on that person’s behalf not prior to January first, and not later than the last Tuesday of March at five p.m. prior to the date of the primary election. If the petition is mailed by registered mail by the last Tuesday of March at five p.m. prior to the primary election, the petition shall be considered filed.

Read it all here.


Basically, Registered mail is about the most secure form of mailing one can do. Most importantly, it provides a chain of custody at every step of the way. The posted item has its details recorded in a register to enable its location to be tracked.

Plus, it’s what the statute calls for. If you can’t pass the test of getting your petitions in to run for the legislature, is it really such a good idea to be making decisions that affect people’s lives?

So, now you can’t say you weren’t told.  If you’re mailing your petitions in – SEND THEM REGISTERED MAIL.

And you can read that here if you’re so inclined.

I was thinking about this over the weekend, and it reminded me of my first election working for the GOP.

We had managed to dig up a candidate at the last moment to run on the very last day for a seat held by a Dem in the district including Ft. Pierre. We ran all over town trying to find 50 or so Ft. Pierre residents to sign. We had enough signatures with the petitions being carried by the candidate himself.

And unfortunately, he strolled at a leisurely pace into the State Capitol, and met us at the Secretary of State’s office at approximately 5:05 pm. It was like a punch in the gut.

That night, I bolted up in bed. Hindsight always kicks in when you’re about to go to sleep. AAARRGGGHH! we could have driven his petitions out to Hayes and mailed them registered mail before the 5pm deadline.  Why? because the law is not specific on time zones.  It just says “by the last Tuesday of March at five p.m. prior to the primary election.”*

When I mentioned it the next day? The staff agreed that if someone can’t follow the simple instruction to show up before 5pm to turn in their own petitions… they probably weren’t a good candidate to begin with.

(* if anyone claims it’s 5pm Central Time, show me where it says that. The law is silent on it. It just says 5 p.m.)