Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
SDPB Radio Coverage of the South Dakota Legislature. See all coverage and find links to audio and video streams live from the Capitol at

Secretary of State Asks Lawmakers to Reform Election Petition Process

South Dakota lawmakers will vote on a set of proposals to reform the election petition process. The proposals are being brought by South Dakota’s Secretary of State on behalf of South Dakota’s Board of Elections.  

Senate Bill 69 is one of three bills addressing the state’s petition process. The bill moves up the dates for filing a nominating petition by  one month. This means candidates would start asking for signatures on December 1st and must file their petitions by the end of February.

Shantel Krebs is South Dakota’s Secretary of State. She says an earlier filing date is needed to allow enough time for challenges to a candidate’s nominating petition.

"Think of the citizens of South Dakota. We work for them. If they want to be able to challenge your petition signatures we need them to give them enough time to do it," says Krebs. 

There is concern that an earlier filing date will hurt the ability of third parties to participate in elections. Richard Winger is a ballot access expert. He has testified on the behalf South Dakota’s American Civil Liberties Union. Winger says many proposals similar to Senate Bill 69 have been found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Winger says lawmakers can remedy this problem by allowing late forming third parties to skip the primary election and nominate a candidate by convention for the general election. Winger says there really is no need for third parties to participate in a primary.

"Right now South Dakota is the only state in the country where a group, in order to be listed on the ballot in November with its label for President, must have organized in time for its own primary," says Winger.

The Senate State Affairs committee will vote on Senate Bill 69 Friday morning. The legislative committee has passed a companion measure, Senate Bill 67. Senate Bill 67 moves the deadline for challenging a nominating petition to the second Tuesday in March. The measure will now go to the Senate floor for further debate.