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(SD)-Signatures Submitted For 7 Ballot Measures

By: John Axtell Posted at: 11/07/2017 06:34 PM
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - Yesterday was the deadline in South Dakota for supporters of proposed ballot measures to submit petition signatures to the secretary of state's office. Nearly 14,000 valid signatures are needed for initiated measures and 28,000 for constitutional amendments.

      At the end of the day, two drives said they came up short and didn't turn in anything, one made the threshold in raw signatures but likely too few to survive the weeding-out process for invalid ones, while 4 other measures and 2 proposed constitutional amendments all seemed to have comfortable cushions.

       Secretary of State Shantel Krebs' office will take a random sample of 5% of signature lines and check to see if they are valid signatures of registered voters and apply the error rate to the total signatures for that measure.

      The disqualification rate two years ago ran from about 15% to nearly 37%, so any initiated measure turning in fewer than 15,000 total signatures and constitutional amendments with fewer than 32,000 likely won't make the cut. It took Krebs nearly 3 months to complete verification the last time.

     The two measures that didn't submit petitions were to legalize physician-assisted dying and recreational marijuana. "Death with Dignity" measure sponsor Angela Albonico says the campaign didn't have enough volunteers out collecting signatures while New Approach South Dakota director Melissa Mentele says marijuana supporters had a medical pot measure as their prime focus.

        The medical marijuana measure was turned in with roughly 15,000 after a similar measure failed to make last year's budget. Mentele says even though they have less than a 10% margin of error, she thinks their reliance on volunteer circulators should mean fewer invalid signatures than the norm. 

     A measure capping the price state agencies could pay for prescription drugs had more than 22,000 signatures while one allowing South Dakota counties to hold elections conducted entirely by mail ballot have turned in nearly 20,000 signatures.

    Two initiatives sponsored by House Speaker Mark Mickelson were submitted with signatures to spare.  Mickelson had more than 19,000 signatures for a hike in tobacco taxes to increase funding for tech schools - better than a third above the minimum - while a measure to ban out-of-state political contributions for ballot questions had slightly over 18,000

      A constitutional amendment to take control of redistricting from the Legislature and give it to an independent commission came in with more than 34,000 signatures...nearly a quarter more than the miniumu...while an amendment to to go an open primary system for most political races turned in roughly 37,200 or about a third more than needed.


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