We’re coming down to the wire this next week for election petitions, which means it’s time for me to be a scold to candidates in order to help save them from a grave error if they find themselves mailing in their petitions.
If you can’t drive yourself to Pierre before Tuesday at 5pm, we’re at the point where if you mail your election petitions into the Secretary of State (Secretary of State, Attn: Elections, 500 E. Capitol, Pierre, SD 57501), there’s the possibility they might not show up by the deadline on Tuesday. No matter what any clerk at a postal desk tries to talk you into, there’s only ONE proper way to mail those petitions into the Secretary of State’s office, and I can’t admonish candidates strongly enough.
Send those petitions in via REGISTERED mail, not certified.
There’s a good reason for it. It’s the law. 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.
Why registered mail? Registered mail has a clear chain of custody that is recorded by the post office before being sent and at each point along its route to safeguard against loss, theft, or damage. Every year there are people who let themselves get talked into sending it certified by someone who doesn’t know South Dakota Election Law.. and they find themselves out of luck.
It’s an exciting time in South Dakota politics. By my unofficial tally, I’m counting as many as 8 GOP Senate primary Elections, and as many as 12 House primary elections… and we’re not done with candidates yet!
We’ll know more next week, so keep your eyes on South Dakota War College for coverage of the legislative campaigns. It’s just getting started in what might be one of the wildest years ever!