Citizens increasingly at odds with politicians over ballot measures

Protests in front of the capitol didn't sway lawmakers who sent Gov. Dennis Daugaard House Bill 1069, which repeals Initiated Measure 22. The governor signed the repeal bill. (photo by Patrick Callahan, SDBA)

BROOKINGS, S.D. (AP) - Lawmakers in several states this year have brushed aside voter measures, with some working to hamper citizens' ability to pass future ballot questions.

Legislators in at least 10 states have tried to clamp down on citizens' initiatives since the 2016 election. In 2018 and beyond, states including Ohio, Maine, Missouri, and the Dakotas could tussle over the states' ballot question systems.

The power struggle between the people and politicians is particularly stark in South Dakota, where supporters of new constitutional protections for ballot measures are competing against lawmakers who would curtail them.

Republican lawmakers in several states have branded new offensives in the conflict as necessary to stop out-of-state special interest groups from meddling with local laws.

Ballot measure supporters have criticized lawmakers as ignoring the people's will.