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Open Primary Elections Ballot Question Petition Rejected by Secretary of State

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, March 2, 2018

CONTACT: Kristin Gabriel at (605) 773-3537 or Kristin.Gabriel@state.sd.us


PIERRE, S.D. – Today, Secretary of State Shantel Krebs announced that the petition submitted for an initiated amendment to the South Dakota Constitution establishing open primary elections was rejected by her office.

“My staff have been working diligently to review petitions,” stated Secretary Krebs. “An Initiated Constitutional Amendment requires 27,741 valid signatures in order to be placed on the ballot. This initiated constitutional amendment petition included 37,197 signatures. We reviewed a random sample of signatures, and only 68.57 percent (37,197 x 68.57% = 25,505 valid signatures, not meeting the 27,741 signatures required) were found to be valid.”

A rejected petition cannot be challenged to the office of the Secretary of State, however that does not prohibit a citizen from challenging the rejection of a ballot question petition in circuit court.

The remaining four petitions will be reviewed by the Secretary of State’s office in the order in which they were received. The South Dakota Legislature also has the ability to include constitutional amendments on the 2018 ballot and South Dakota citizens have the ability to submit a referendum petition concerning laws passed during the 2018 Legislative session.

For more detailed information on potential 2018 Ballot Questions, click here.


2-1-17.1.   Submission of affidavit challenging petition to secretary of state--Appeal. Within thirty days after a statewide petition for an initiated constitutional amendment, initiated measure, or referendum has been validated and filed, any interested person who has researched the signatures contained on the petition may submit an affidavit to the Office of Secretary of State to challenge the petition. The affidavit shall include an itemized listing of each specific deficiency in question. Any challenge to the following items is prohibited under this challenge process:

             (1)      Signer does not live at address listed on the petition;

             (2)      Circulator does not live at address listed on the petition;

             (3)      Circulator listed a residence address in South Dakota but is not a South Dakota resident;

             (4)      Circulator did not witness the signers;

             (5)      Signatures not included in the random sample; and

             (6)      Petition that was originally rejected.

     Any challenge by the same person or party in interest shall be included in one affidavit.

     The original signed affidavit shall be received by the Office of Secretary of State by 5:00 p.m. central time on the deadline date. If the affidavit challenges any item that is prohibited by this section, only that line item shall summarily be rejected. A challenge to a line item is not a challenge to the petition as a whole.

     The secretary of state's decision regarding a challenge may not be challenged a second time with the secretary of state, but may be appealed to the circuit court of Hughes County. If a person fails to challenge a petition pursuant to this section, it does not deny that person any other legal remedy to challenge the filing of an initiative or referendum petition in circuit court. A challenge to a petition in circuit court may include items prohibited in this section.


Secretary Shantel Krebs and Deputy Secretary of Election Services Kea Warne accepting open primary election petitions from De Knudson on November 6, 2017 (KrebsKnudsonWarne.jpg)