This week, the South Dakota Secretary of State had a new 2020 ballot measure filed for signature collection that we’ve previously reported on before. And it’s a sinister measure that is designed to set aside ballot and petition signature collection reforms passed by the legislature, and to hide information from voters.
Aberdeen Democrat Cory Heidelberger, who has unsuccessfully ran for South Dakota State Senate twice now, has submitted a ballot measure for circulation and will be out asking for signatures from people for a measure that will include wiping away many of the petition circulation reforms passed in recent years, as well as denying voters immediate access at the voting booth to the cost of all future ballot measures.
The Attorney General’s explanation of this measure is as follows:
ATTORNEY GENERAL’S STATEMENT
Title: An initiated measure changing initiative and referendum requirements.
This measure changes and repeals laws regarding ballot measures. It eliminates some information a petition circulator must provide to a petition signer, including circulator contact information and a statement whether the circulator is paid. It eliminates the requirement that sponsors submit circulator residency information.
It repeals the law barring individuals from sponsoring or circulating petitions for four years if they have committed multiple petition-law violations.
It repeals the law extending the Legislative Research Council’s deadline for reviewing initiated measures received during legislative session. It changes fiscal note requirements for initiated measures and initiated constitutional amendments, and removes fiscal notes from the ballot for these types of measures.
It decreases the time in which the Attorney General must file a title and explanation for initiated measures and initiated amendments.
It repeals the law prohibiting an initiated measure from embracing more than one subject.
Currently, sponsors must file signed initiative petitions with the Secretary of State at least one year prior to the general election. The measure changes this deadline to four months prior.
Under this measure, most voter-approved ballot measures would take effect the day after the official vote canvass, rather than the following July 1 as the law currently states.
This is literally one of the worst ballot measures to be brought to the people in state history.
The requirement to provide the signer a form with the unbiased and clear statement of what the ballot measure does in the form of the Attorney General’s statement? If passed, they don’t want to have to provide an unbiased description of what the measure does at the time of signing anymore. They want to be able to provide a slip of paper with a weblink. (Don’t click here – and try to type it in correctly when you get home to figure out what it does. After you sign.)
Confusing 30-page omnibus measures, which petition reforms did away with? They would return under this ballot measure. Laws designed to take bad actors away from the process would be repealed. Laws making sure petitions are circulated by citizens would be repealed. Laws requiring certain information be provided to people signing – such as if the circulator is a volunteer or paid circulator – would be repealed.
In other words, the bad guys like secrets. And they like hiring out-of-staters to do their dirty work. They like the way it was before. And they’re out to bring back the bad ol’ days.
It’s up to us to hold the line – and to reject this bad government measure.