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HB 1230 Referral Passes Gant’s Muster! Voters Get Hands on Corporate Welfare

Last updated on 2011.07.19

Secretary of State Jason Gant announced this morning that he has certified the petitions submitted last month to refer House Bill 1230 to a public vote in 2012:

Petition circulators submitted approximately 22,883 signatures to refer the measure to a vote. According to State law and administrative rule, we drew a random sample of 1,145 signature lines to check for validation, which comprised the required audit of 5% of the signatures," Gant said.

"From our sample of 1,145 signatures, we validated 919 and invalidated 226 for various reasons, including lack of voter registration, improperly filling out the petitions, legibility, and notary public errors. Invalid signatures comprised 19.74% of the total signatures sampled, and under state law, the number of valid signatures sampled was sufficient for the measure to pass validation for the ballot," Gant said. "If we extrapolate the valid signatures, as per South Dakota Law, they are 2,510 signatures over the required 15,855 needed."

According to state law, a referral measure or an initiative petition shall be signed by at least five percent of the total votes cast for Governor (15,855), and a constitutional amendment requires a petition signed by at least ten percent of the total votes cast for Governor in the last gubernatorial election (31,709) [Secretary of State Jason Gant, press release, 2011.07.18].

South Democratic Party Chairman Ben Nesselhuf launched the petition drive back in March. The chairman celebrates the opportunity for voters to have a say in South Dakota's priorities:

Today, the Secretary of State confirmed what we found gathering signatures across South Dakota: voters want to decide whether our tax dollars should stay in education, health care and other essential services that depend on the general fund, or be diverted to a new large project development fund [Ben Nesselhuf, press release, South Dakota Democratic Party, 2011.07.18].

I celebrate, too. Thank you to all of you Madison neighbors and visitors who permitted me to interrupt your day with a knock on your door. With your simple signature, you've done some good. You've opened the door for a substantive conversation during the 2012 campaign. You've also sent a message that may influence how your legislators spend your money during the 2012 Session.

By placing this measure on the ballot, Chairman Nesselhuf has served democracy and Democrats well. This referendum should give Democrats running for Legislature a great unifying message with which to start conversations and rally voters.

Now if we can just find 110 Democrats to run for the Legislature. Time for that next challenge, Ben!

Update 12:17 CDT: An eager reader reminds me not to overwork Chairman Ben: there are only 105 seats in the South Dakota Legislature. I make this mistake frequently. Why is the number 110 stuck in my head? It's probably just my deep-seated passion for primaries... in at least five Legislative districts! Or let's get 110, draft two to run for the PUC slots, then let the other three primary it out for the nod to run against Noem!


  1. Chris S. 2011.07.18

    I was amused to see that Mr. Gant used statistical sampling to determine that the submitted petitions met the required threshold, but his party members in congress rail against statistical sampling when it's used to make the Census more accurate.

    Come on, Mr. Gant! You should be going door-to-door to verify every single signature, not using book-learnin' and fancy "statistical methodology"! [/snark]

  2. Steve Sibson 2011.07.18

    Cory, I hate to bust your bubble, but us Tea Party types also carried/signed petitions.

  3. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.07.18

    Steve, my bubble's not busted, but I should apologize and include you and other truer conservatives in my thanks. I will welcome your assistance in getting the 9-12ers and other Tea-flavored types to support our effort to nix this law. (Hey, when will the Mitchell 9-12 club invite me down to join you on a panel to discuss this bill?)

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