Election integrity is a priority next legislative session

Although the 2023 legislative session ended last month, some are already looking ahead to next year’s session
Published: Apr. 13, 2023 at 8:13 PM MDT
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DEADWOOD, S.D. (KEVN) - Although the 2023 legislative session ended last month, some are already looking ahead to next year’s session.

Legislators made some changes when it comes to election integrity, and there could be more.

During the last legislative session, the Attorney General’s office focused on protecting law enforcement officers and public safety. Now, with election integrity still being talked about attorney general, Marty Jackley has some thoughts on how to maintain those ethics.

“Our county auditors do an excellent job of protecting our elections and making sure every vote counts. There were a couple of things this session that the legislature improved that integrity on. A couple were to address when candidates and those that are using petitions are knowingly committing fraud or knowingly committing perjury. Another area that we’ve seen in South Dakota are circumstances when taxpayer dollars are being inappropriately used to influence an election,” Jackley said.

Freedom House has been around for 50 years and focuses on political rights around the world. They say, “There is more to democracy than free and fair elections, but there can be no democracy without them.”

“One of the things that we’ve felt strongly was that we have seen evidence, where candidates were not circulating petitions right and then they were lying about it. And we’ve had to have a couple of court cases to address that, and I felt strongly that we needed to improve those laws here in South Dakota so that we can again ensure that there’s a fair playing field for candidates and those petitions to change the constitution or to change our laws,” Jackley continued.

Jackley says for any future complaints about election integrity, he will bring those concerns to lawmakers if he feels there are areas that need to be improved.

“I would like to see our laws more transparent so I’ve begun working with the media, begun working with legislators for transparency to take a look at how can we next session. Be a little bit more transparent with government so the taxpayers can see what the government is doing with their tax dollars,” said Jackley.

Jackley says he is grateful to lawmakers for the work that was put in the last session, and says he will continue improving laws across Mount Rushmore State.