Senate kills HB1239, the “boo hoo, my name isn’t on that” bill. It should have been killed a lot sooner.

Well, that took far longer than it should have.

In Senate committee this morning, the State Affairs committee killed House Bill 1239, a bill that would have made it an actual crime – a class 2 misdemeanor – for an organization or political party to put check marks by their candidate on a postcard, and not include everyone’s name, because someone could mistake the postcard for a giant ballot-sized sheet of paper.   Seriously:

…in a motion to move the bill to the 41st Day, a non-existent legislative day, Sen. Lee Schoenbeck, R-Watertown, said the intent of the bill was to intimidate South Dakotans from going to the voting booth.

“If you ever needed evidence that [Vladimir] Putin has friends in America, it would be when people introduce bills to try and intimidate people who may not approve of them in office,” he said.


Soye assured senators that the bill wouldn’t apply to those kinds of postcards. It applies only “if you’re sending out something that purports to be an official sample ballot.”

Read the entire story here.

And the Senator is completely right. And frankly this silliness should have been killed in the House.  I wasn’t there for the testimony, but if one of the examples used was a GOP card that shows a mockup of a ballot, I was probably the one who designed it.  And nothing said “official sample ballot,” but would have said “sample ballot,” as political parties have done for OVER A CENTURY.

Should using the words “sample ballot” on a postcard printed on cardstock warrant being charged with a crime and going to jail?  OF COURSE NOT.  This bill was really just offensive, and a massive leap of overreaching government authority, as well as an effort on the part of sponsors to squelch speech.

House Bill 1239 was literally the “boo hoo, my name isn’t on that” bill, and should have not gotten out of House committee, much less made it to the Senate.

Instead of taking it to the legislature, proponents could have simply sent their own card that said “darken the little circle for me.” But, they elected not to, and instead demanded that it be made a crime.

Thankfully, the Senate committee were the adults in the room, and killed it unanimously.  As was deserved.

3 thoughts on “Senate kills HB1239, the “boo hoo, my name isn’t on that” bill. It should have been killed a lot sooner.”

  1. I normally agree with you Pat; however, putting “sample ballot” is fairly misleading. Now, I absolutely do not believe that this should be a punishable offense, but I can see how it may be an issue for voters.

    1. I can’t disagree with you more strongly. A postcard that looks like this..

      sample ballot

      Does not require a disclaimer that says “this is not an official ballot” under penalty of being jailed. Seriously, do you consider our country that completely stupid that we have to actually print it on the tide pods not to eat them?

  2. It’s not an issue for the voters.

    It’s an issue for these people:
    Representatives Soye (prime), Deutsch, Gross, Hansen, Krohmer, Lems, May, and Odenbach and Senator Pischke (prime).

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