It sounds like legislators are in the mood to clear up some of the ballot initiative mess

Unlike the constitutional revision commission which had rumblings about throwing out the baby with the bathwater (but also realizing South Dakotans wouldn't go fo it) , some legislators are talking about some reform in the initiative process in today's Argus Leader:
Sen. Dick Kelly, R-Sioux Falls, said the idea has merit as part of a comprehensive look at election laws.

"We gave the attorney general more flexibility to explain the issues on the ballots, and we're getting more and more ballot issues," Kelly said. "It just makes sense to have some sort of timeline for ending challenges so the election process can unfold. I'd like to see that looked at next session, along with such things as whether petition circulators should be South Dakota residents and the whole process of getting something on the ballot. In South Dakota anymore, $40,000 or $50,000 will get anything on the ballot."

Read it all here. I'd love to see petition circulators being limited to South Dakotans. While they may not throw out paid circulators as I might prefer, I think limiting it to South Dakota residents would be a great start.

More signatures? No. I can't support that one bit. It's a limitation on exercising our rights.

But where South Dakotans exercising our rights becomes a matter of headhunters paying on a per signature or per petition basis, I think it perpetuates a negative atmosphere. I might not get my way on that, but if we can at least keep it to our registered voters, those people have to live in our communities, and might not be quite so unscrupulous as an out of stater just here for the paycheck.

Anyone else have some other thoughts on how to clean this up, without limiting the rights of South Dakotans?

Comments

Jake Mortenson said…
PP,

Why are you so insistent on limiting eligibility for petitioners? Who loses by having an out of state and/or paid individual offer petitions to registered voters? It is called division of labor. If I do not have enough time/money to petition, why should I not be able to hire someone else to petition for me, regardless of their state of residence?

Regardless of who is petitioning, the signatures of registered voters are needed to bring an issue to the ballot. Don't let your pride in South Dakota get in the way of reasonable policy.
Anonymous said…
"...I think it perpetuates a negative atmosphere."

What on earth does that mean? A negative atmosphere?


"...as unscrupulous as an out of stater just here for the paycheck."

Yep, nothing worse than those unscrupulous out of staters here for work. God forbid.

Now if we can just keep out the traveling carnivals and grain harvesters, this state would be a paradise.
Anonymous said…
They should make it in state registered voters. They should also require anyone collecting signatures to provide a printed statement what the petition intends to do. There were too many people collecting signatures lying about what the petition was for or at least being evasive. Many of the ones I saw did not have the wording on the top of the page and the people collecting for JAIL were outright lying about the initiative. I also overheard someone collecting signatures on St. Pats day in Sioux Falls tell an elderly couple that the petition they were signing would "ban abortion". He was actually collecting signatures for the phone tax and medical marijuana issues. Lying to get signatures is the biggest problem.
Bob Newland said…
Let's just prosecute the people who sign petitions without at least scanning them first. Better yet, let's prosecute those who vote for people like Brock Greenfield, Roger Hunt and Lee Schoenbeck.

The out-of-state petition circulator question has been settled by the Supreme Court.

Perhaps the negative atmosphere has been created by a couple of generations of stupid laws being stacked on top of dumb laws.

Or, as Bill Napoli has said, "The proliferation of ballot issues is symptomatic of the fact that the letgislature is doing a bad job."
Jake Mortenson said…
anonymous 8:34am,

Unless you can prove that lying to get signatures is a) done more by out of staters than in staters and b) it is the rule instead of the exception, I am not buying that restricting petitioners to only unpaid South Dakotans is in anyway beneficial to South Dakotans.

Further, it seemed as if Kelly refered to the 40 or 50k needed to bring an issue to ballot almost in disgust. For me, raising the costs of political participation and bringing an issue to ballot thru red tape is not desireable.

I still do not understand why PP and others support such nonsense. I would welcome a logical explaination.
Anonymous said…
As long as we maintain the current system we will see more out of state groups realizing that it is extremely cheap and easy to try out their screwball ideas in South Dakota. For example the tribes fiqured out to try to end the competetion from the video lottery all they had to do was cough up 50-75k from their casino revenues and poof, it is on the ballot. Spend another half million and bingo- its a done deal. Cheaper than spending the money advertising trying to get South Dakotans to their casinos. I can understand why Bob N is so upset, he had to get the money from another out of state group to pay the same folks the Indian's did to get the medical marijuana measure on the ballot. I really think that all we need is disclosure prior to , during and immediately after the petition drive of which group or persons are paying for the effort.
Jake Mortenson said…
Latest "anonymous":

"As long as we maintain the current system we will see more out of state groups realizing that it is extremely cheap and easy to try out their screwball ideas in South Dakota."

So, let me get this straight. You are complaining about people coming here, spending money, and trying to convince us of their point of view? God forbid we are presented with new information on a topic... And "screwball"? Who determines that, you? Or some central bureaucracy? Call me crazy, but I would like registered voters to decide what is "screwball" and what is "reasonable".

"For example the tribes fiqured out to try to end the competetion from the video lottery all they had to do was cough up 50-75k from their casino revenues and poof, it is on the ballot. Spend another half million and bingo- its a done deal. Cheaper than spending the money advertising trying to get South Dakotans to their casinos."

Expose them for what they are. Don't sign their petitions. Campaign against their initiative. Vote against it. But don't think restricting the ability of groups to petition will screen out only the bad ballot measures. It will screen both the good and the bad. (Not to mention, the tribe is not an out of state group).

"I really think that all we need is disclosure prior to , during and immediately after the petition drive of which group or persons are paying for the effort."

I don't think this is a bad idea, especially if it is ALL we need. However, I think if you did a little digging on your own, you could figure most of the finance stuff out.
Anonymous said…
Jake, you could dig all the way to China and never find out who pays for the circulation of petetions. They are not required to report therefore no one does. I certainly hope you other comments are better thought out than this one because it is just plain wrong.
Anonymous said…
Jake, are you sure that the tribes that initiated the law are from SD or perhaps from another state doing a favor, particularly since they have lent the gaming tribes money.
Jake Mortenson said…
anonymous 9:46,

No, I am not sure. It was anonymous 5:01 who suggested the tribes have backed the vidlot initiative.

And anonymous 9:44,

You are right, I was briefly confusing PAC claims. I guess I'm not sure if PACs have to note the activities of specific personnel expenditures (such as paying people to petition).
Anonymous said…
If you're afraid
that SD voters
will get to vote
on "screwball" ideas...

Then you must be afraid
that SD voters are "screwballs"
themselves

If it's screwy, it won't pass

So if you have faith
in SD voters...
what's to be afraid of?

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