Proposed Open Primary Ballot Question Is Different From Last Years

Jul 14, 2017

Credit Kent Osborne / SDPB

Backers of an open primary constitutional amendment say this ballot measure question is different from a similar ballot question last year.

The constitutional amendment will place all candidates in a primary election on the same ballot. The top two candidates who receive the most votes then move on to the general election in the fall.

Joe Kirby is chair of Open Primaries South Dakota, a group backing the measure. That group also backed Amendment V, a similar measure last year. Kirby says that measure almost passed with 45 percent of the vote.

”So it was quite popular, but, we heard from a lot of people who voted against it that their problem was a lack of transparency, since they didn’t know what party some of the candidates might be in," Kirby says "We are focusing exclusively on the open primaries aspect which really didn’t have much opposition last time.”

Currently, only registered voters of a candidates chosen party can vote for that candidate.

Kirby says this opens up primaries for registered independents in the state. Independents make up 22 percent of voters in South Dakota.

Since the ballot question is a constitutional amendment, about 28,000 petition signatures are needed by November.

Attorney General Marty Jackley released a ballot question explanation last week.