South Dakota Open Primaries Campaign submits initiative petition
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - A campaign has completed the first step to creating open primaries in South Dakota.
The sponsors of the proposed 2024 open primaries ballot initiative have submitted their petition to South Dakota Secretary of State Monae Johnson for final review. Today’s filing is the last step in the state’s initiative approval process before the campaign can begin collecting the 35,000 signatures needed to qualify for next year’s ballot.
“We’re very excited to launch the signature drive and begin talking to voters across South Dakota about our 2024 open primaries ballot initiative,” said De Knudson, treasurer of South Dakota Open Primaries, the campaign backing the effort. “By adopting open primaries, we will ensure that all South Dakota voters, regardless of party affiliation, can fully voice their opinions in future elections.”
Knudson, who is also one of the three official sponsors of the initiative, hand delivered the required documentation, including the proposed petition and circulator handouts, to the South Dakota Secretary of State’s office in Pierre.
“Our message is simple,” said Joe Kirby, chairman of South Dakota Open Primaries. “It’s time to let all voters vote.”
The proposed 2024 ballot initiative would amend the state constitution to establish open primary elections for Governor, Congress, the State Legislature, and county elective offices. In an open primary election, all candidates compete in a single primary open to all voters regardless of party affiliation.
In each race, all the candidates would compete in a single primary open to all South Dakota voters. The two candidates that receive the most votes would advance to the general election. The ballot would continue to indicate the party affiliation, or lack thereof, for each candidate. For example, if six candidates ran for Governor – two Republicans, two Democrats, a Libertarian, and an independent – then they would compete in a single primary to decide who reaches the general election in November. The general election could feature a combination of any candidates chosen by voters in the primary, regardless of political party.
In order to qualify for the November 2024 ballot, the initiative sponsors must collect valid signatures from 35,017 registered South Dakota voters and submit their petitions to the South Dakota Secretary of State by May 7, 2024. South Dakota Open Primaries will soon be announcing a start date for its statewide signature drive.
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