My latest column for South Dakota Magazine discusses the disadvantages Independents face in getting on the ballot in South Dakota. I propose a modest package of reforms to our electoral laws to treat Independents more fairly:
- Establish a uniform filing deadline for all Independent candidates for statewide and legislative offices: the last Tuesday in July.
- Require political parties to submit their convention nominees by the last Tuesday in June.
- Reduce the Independent nominating signature requirement to the either the lower or the average of the major party signature requirements.
- For offices like attorney general, for which partisan candidates are nominated by convention rather than petition, set the Independent nominating signature requirement equal to the number of voting delegates attending the largest party convention in the state [Cory Allen Heidelberger, "Jonesing for Indies," South Dakota Magazine, 2014.07.09].
The odd events of this year's petition season already have legislators, the press, and pundits talking about shaking up our election laws during the 2015 Legislative session. Do we need to include measures to give Indies a fairer shake at ballot access as well?