Independent Redistricting Board Ballot Question Lacks Signatures

Mar 13, 2018

Credit SDPB

The Secretary of State is rejecting an initiated constitutional amendment establishing an independent state legislative redistricting commission.

She’s siting lack of signatures for the rejection.

The sponsors hoping to create an independent redistricting commission came up about 2,500 signatures short to place the idea on the general election ballot.

A similar proposal, Constitutional Amendment T, was rejected by voters last year by 49-thousand votes.

The South Dakota constitution requires the legislature to establish, or redraw, legislative districts every ten years. This amendment removes that authority to a 9-member, bi-partisan commission to draw those lines.

Rapid City resident Chuck Parkinson sponsored the petition drive. He says there’s a disparity between registered number of Republicans in South Dakota and party representation in the statehouse.

“The party in power likes being in power so they’re going to do what they can to remain in power,” Parkinson says. “I don’t know that an independent commission would draw lines any differently, or the results would be any differently, but I do think it’s important that it appears to be fair," Parkinson says. "Fairness is the basis for the democracy. I think you would at least have the conversation if you had a multi-partisan group making that decision as opposed to a partisan makeup that reflects the percentage in the legislature.”

Statehouse Democrats tried passing a similar ballot question with House Joint Resolution 1009 this session. It failed on a party line vote.

The next legislative redistricting will take place in 2021.