Secretary of State Shantel Krebs’ 2015 legislative proposals
Pierre, SD – Today Secretary of State Shantel Krebs has announced that she will be pushing an aggressive legislative package and asking the legislature to consider supporting changes to election law, corporate filing law and streamlining current laws.
To ensure greater fairness in the petition process for citizens of South Dakota, Secretary Krebs asks the legislature to consider the following:
Random Sampling of Statewide Candidate Petition Signatures:
This proposal, approved by the bipartisan State Board of Elections, would require the Secretary of State to conduct a 5-percent random sample of statewide candidate petitions. The proposed changes would mirror current state law pertaining to statewide initiated measures and referendums.
The proposal is designed to increase the integrity of the petition process and quell concerns pertaining to current law which does not allow the office of the Secretary of State to review the signatures that come from registered voters on statewide candidate petitions but does allow for the review of authentic signatures for statewide initiated measures and referendums.
“South Dakotans expect the Secretary of State’s office to hold the election process to the highest level of integrity. It’s crucial that our office and the Legislature work together to strengthen our election laws regarding the circulation of statewide candidate petitions so citizens can be confident that the chief elections officer has the authority to ensure statewide candidate petitions are valid,” said Secretary Krebs.
Current law puts the burden of challenging petitions on the citizens of South Dakota first, and then the matter must be decided in circuit court. The Secretary of State’s office is currently authorized to ensure that those signatures are complete on each line, but not determine whether or not they are signed by registered voters.
Timeframe for Petition Circulation and Timeframe for Petitions to be Challenged:
This measure would give greater authority to the people of South Dakota and the Secretary of State to evaluate and dispute a candidate’s nominating petitions. Moving the petition circulation time frame ahead one month from January 1st of the election year to December 1st of the previous year and moving the petition filing deadline ahead one month from the last Tuesday in March to the last Tuesday of February and allow challenges to be made until the second Tuesday in March.
Of further benefit to a concerned party is that a challenge to a candidate’s petitions will take precedence over other cases currently in circuit court.
Fictitious Business Name Legislative proposal:
Currently non profit organizations are not required to file Fictitious Business Names under current statute. This proposal would require them to file so the public can search the database with greater transparency and more easily identify persons with interest in any for profit or non profit entity operating within the state of South Dakota.
“We are opening records that we feel should be available to the public, improving customer service, and making the search process more user-friendly,” said Secretary Krebs.