Legislature Lowers Threshold For Third Party Ballot Access

Mar 8, 2018

Both the South Dakota House and Senate are agreeing on a bill that makes ballot access easier for third party candidates.

Earlier this year, District Court Judge Lawrence Piersol ruled the state’s ballot access provisions too stringent for those parties. He enjoined those laws on the state’s books, which adds urgency to the bill needing to pass.

State Senator Arthur Rusch says the new language should satisfy the judge’s ruling.

“It probably will make it easier to get candidates on the ballot, but so be it. If they can appeal to a wider variety of voters, more power to them. I don’t have any objection to that.”

House Bill 1286 bounced back and forth between chambers before lawmakers agreed on Senate changes to the bill.

If a total party’s registration is less than 2.5 percent of total number of registered voters, that group can remain an “Alternative” political party.

That status allows those parties to qualify for a lower signature requirement to reach the ballot.