Pre-petitioning Requirements

Pre-Petitioning Process Outline

1) Language Submitted: Text of measure must be submitted the the Legislative Research Council.

2) LRC Review: 15 days to review and submit comments to sponsors.

3) Filing: Petition with language is submitted to secretary of Sate elections division for "Filing"

  The sponsors of any initiated measure or constitutional amendment must submit that text to the director of the legislative research council who will within 15 days provide written comments on the measure to the sponsors and the secretary of state. The comments must be received by the secretary of state prior to filing the measure's full text (SDCL 12-13-25 & SDCL 12-13-26).

The full text of any petition to be circulated, the date of the general election at which the question is to be submitted, and the names and addresses of the petition sponsors shall be filed with the secretary of state prior to circulation for signatures (SDCL 2-1-5). No signatures obtained before that filing date will be counted.

All sections of any completed ballot question petition shall be filed simultaneously together with a sworn affidavit prescribed by the State Board of Elections signed by two-thirds of the sponsors.

2-1-6.2.   Filing petition prior to circulation--Collection and filing of signatures--Time limit-- Affidavits.  

 The full text of any initiative petition, referred law petition, or initiated constitutional amendment petition, the date of the general election at which the initiated law or initiated constitutional amendment is to be submitted, a short title that will be used by the petition sponsors during the circulation process, and the names and addresses of the petition sponsors shall be filed with the secretary of state prior to circulation for signatures. The signer's post office box number may be given in lieu of a street address if the signer lives within a municipality of the second or third class. The form of the petitions shall be prescribed by the State Board of Elections. For any initiated constitutional amendment petition, no signatures may be obtained more than twenty-four months preceding the general election that was designated at the time of filing of the full text. For any initiative petition, no signatures may be obtained more than nineteen months preceding the general election that was designated at the time of filing of the full text. An initiative petition and an initiated constitutional amendment petition shall be filed with the secretary of state by the date set forth in § 2-1-2 or 2-1-2.1, as applicable. All sections of any petition filed under this chapter shall be filed with the secretary of state simultaneously together with a sworn affidavit on forms promulgated by the State Board of Elections, signed by two-thirds of the sponsors stating that the documents filed constitute the entire petition and to the best of their knowledge contain a sufficient number of signatures. 

 2-1-7.   Petitions to describe initiated and referred measures--Personal signature required.  

 Every petition proposing a measure must contain the substance of the law desired and must be signed in person by the petitioners, and every petition to submit a law to a vote of the electors must be signed in person by the petitioners and must describe the law desired to be submitted, by setting forth its title, together with the date of its passage and approval.

 2-1-9.   Separate papers constituting single petition.  

 A single petition may be made up of one or more papers, each having the requisite heading and verification. 

2-1-10.   Verification of persons circulating initiative or referendum petitions--Witness-- Violation as misdemeanor.  

 Each person, who circulates and secures signatures to a petition to initiate a constitutional amendment or other measure or to refer legislation to the electors, shall sign a verification before filing the petition with the officer in whose office it is by law required to be filed. The verification shall prescribe that the circulator made reasonable inquiry and, to the best of the circulator's knowledge, each person signing the petition is a qualified voter of the state in the county indicated on the signature line and that no state statute regarding the circulation of petitions was knowingly violated. The State Board of Elections shall prescribe the form for the verification. The verification shall be witnessed by a notary public commissioned in South Dakota or other officer authorized to administer oaths pursuant to § 18-3-1. Any person who falsely swears to the verification provided for in this section is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

2-1-11.   Petitions liberally construed. 

The petitions herein provided for shall be liberally construed, so that the real intention of the petitioners may not be defeated by a mere technicality.

 2-1-12.   Effective date of measures approved by voters. 

The constitutional amendments and initiated and referred measures that have been approved by a majority of all votes cast become effective the day after the completion of the official canvass by the State Canvassing Board.

2-1-14.   Signatures secured contrary to chapter not to be counted.  

 All signatures secured in a manner contrary to the provisions of this chapter may not be counted. 

  2-1-15.   Examination of petition by secretary of state--Signatures not to be counted unless persons are registered voters and information is complete. 

Upon the receiving of any initiative petition, referred law petition, or initiated constitutional amendment petition, the secretary of state shall examine the petition. No signature of a person may be counted by the secretary of state unless the person is a registered voter in the county indicated on the signature line. No signature of a person may be counted if the information required on the petition form is not complete.

2-1-18.   Court challenge of validity of signatures.  

 Nothing in §§ 2-1-15 to 2-1-18, inclusive, prohibits any person from challenging in circuit court the validity of signatures or other information required on a petition by statute or administrative rule.

12-13-9.    

 Before the third Tuesday in May, the attorney general shall deliver to the secretary of state an attorney general's statement for each proposed amendment to the Constitution and each initiated measure. The attorney general's statement for each referred measure shall be delivered to the secretary of state before the second Tuesday in July. The attorney general's statement shall be written by the attorney general and shall consist of the a title, the an explanation, and a clear and simple recitation of the effect of a "Yes" or "No" vote. The title shall be a concise statement of the subject of the proposed amendment, initiated measure, or referred measure authored by the attorney general, who may adopt the title used by the petition sponsors during the circulation process if that title is legally sufficient. The explanation shall be an objective, clear and simple summary to educate the voters of the purpose and effect of the proposed amendment to the Constitution, the initiated measure, or the referred law. The attorney general shall include a description of the legal consequences of the proposed amendment, the initiated measure, or the referred law, including the likely exposure of the state to liability if the proposed amendment, the initiated measure, or the referred law is adopted. The explanation may not exceed two hundred words in length. On the printed ballots, the title shall be followed by the explanation and the explanation shall be followed by the recitation.

     12-13-25.   

The proponents sponsors of each initiative or initiated amendment to the Constitution shall submit a copy of the initiative or initiated amendment to the Constitution to the director of the Legislative Research Council for review and comment before it may be circulated for signatures. The director shall review each submitted initiative or initiated amendment to the Constitution to determine if the requirements of § 12-13-24 are satisfied. Within fifteen days of receipt of an initiative or initiated amendment to the Constitution, the director shall provide written comments on the initiative or initiated amendment to the Constitution to the proponents sponsors of the initiative or initiated amendment and the secretary of state for the purpose of assisting the sponsors in complying with §  12-13-24. The sponsors may, but are not required to, amend the initiative or initiated amendment to the Constitution to comply with the director's comments .

     Signed February 23, 2007

12-13-28.   Employment and compensation of petition circulators.  

 No person may employ, reward, or compensate any person to circulate a petition for an initiated measure, referred law, or proposed amendment to the South Dakota Constitution based on the number of registered voters who signed the petition. Nothing in this section prohibits any person from employing a petition circulator based on one of the following practices:

             (1)      Paying an hourly wage or salary;
             (2)      Establishing either express or implied minimum signature requirements for the petition circulator;
             (3)      Terminating the petition circulator's employment, if the petition circulator fails to meet certain productivity requirements; and
             (4)      Paying discretionary bonuses based on reliability, longevity, and productivity.
     Any violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

 

12-13-16.   Publication of false or erroneous information on constitutional amendment or submitted question as misdemeanor. 

Any person knowingly printing, publishing, or delivering to any voter of this state a document containing any purported constitutional amendment, question, law, or measure to be submitted to the voters at any election, in which such constitutional amendment, question, law, or measure is misstated, erroneously printed, or by which false or misleading information is given to the voters, is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

12-13-24.   Style, form, and wording of initiative or initiated amendment.  

 Each initiative or initiated amendment to the Constitution shall be written in a clear and coherent manner in the style and form of other legislation. Each initiative or initiated amendment to the Constitution shall be worded so that the effect of the measure is not misleading or likely to cause confusion among voters.