Proposed election changes coming this legislative session

Bob Mercer notes this morning what the specific changes being proposed for the 2015 Legislative session are, and how that could impact the way candidates do business:

Their proposal calls for checking the validity of a random sample of 5 percent of the signatures on a petition.

A would-be candidate found to have insufficient valid signatures after the spot check could appeal that adverse finding to circuit court.

Currently the secretary of state doesn’t have authority to check whether the signatures come from actual registered voters from the counties they show on the petitions.

Read it here.

The current laundry list of changes being proposed include…

  1. SOS checks the validity of a random sample of 5 percent of the signatures on a statewide candidate’s petition, but not for State Legislators.
  2. Eliminating “last day” registered mail requirement for petitions, and requiring all petitions be in the office by the deadline.
  3. Nomination petitions start circulating one month earlier, starting on Dec. 1.
  4. A new deadline of the second Tuesday in March to challenge petitions.

I don’t like the inconsistency in item #1, and I think #2 creates an unlevel playing field based on geography. It’s easy to get a petition in under the wire if you live in Pierre, but not so easy if you’re out in Harding county.   #3 and #4 – Yes. Full speed ahead.

Other items I’d like to see? In particular, I’d love to see a petitioning process instituted for people to run for the other constitutional offices (excepting Lt. Gov), such as SOS, AG, School & Lands, etc. I think that opens up the process to candidates who might not otherwise consider it. But that might be just me.

What do you think about the proposed changes to election law? And what would you like to see that we don’t currently have?

5 thoughts on “Proposed election changes coming this legislative session”

  1. Scan in all petitions upon submittal and allow them to be emailed out at no cost or a low flat cost to those who formally request them.

  2. 1. How about increase the number of signatures needed to run for the legislature –50 is it?! Then a random sample for everyone, lets be fair across the board, this makes it look like legislators are protecting themselves when it is only a couple signatures to be checked.

    2. I like that they have to be in by that day, especially if #3 is adopted that way they start sooner and it is in.

    3 Agreed, see #2
    4. I like a challenge date, but how long do they have to challenge then?
    5. How about requiring the candidate to get a certain percentage themselves of petition signatures so they have to engage voters; vs,. paid only system like Howie and Pressler did.

    I like keeping Constitutional Office with delegates and convention; otherwise it guts the convention process. I say leave that part alone.

  3. No for constitutional signatures. The convention process is the best for the candidates. The Democrats would never have a candidate and it would hurt the GOP bench.

    No one would be able to raise $200k to run for public lands or treasurer.

  4. Good idea Liberty Dick. The actual petitions can follow in the mail.

    1:35: I agree. Current system on Constitutional Officers works fine and gives Democrats a chance to have a slate. (good for democracy)

    Let’s finally say something good about Annette. She doesn’t have her petition problems, we wouldn’t be addressing a few of these matters. 🙂

  5. Petitions can also be used strategically in a campaign. In the recent election I asked 20 friends, each living in a different community in my district to get ten signatures from ten engaged Republicans. My goal was 200 signatures from people that might be able to help me in my campaign – plus my personal goal was to get 50 signatures of my own. I knew I would secure the minimum needed, but my objective wasn’t just to get on the ballot; rather, it was to establish a campaign foundation.

    I agree checking is a good idea. And it should be across-the-board for all offices.

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