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Scientific Poll: Amendment A

October 27, 2004, 5:55 PM by Don Jorgensen

Scientific Poll: Amendment A

You know the candidates, but how well do you know the ballot issues? There are a couple of the ballot issues some people may not have heard about, such as Amendment A which has to do with circuit court judges.

Right now circuit court judges are elected to eight year terms. But if you vote yes on Amendment A, you would support a change to the constitution that would allow the governor to appoint new judges. A no vote means you want citizens to elect judges. Like they currently are.

A recent change in the law, allows judges to advertise when they're up for election. Robert Amundson, who use to sit on the state Supreme Court fears it get too political with ugly attacks.

"Oh I just fear that everything I've read and studied, if you get special interest groups, they want to referee or umpire, they call the pitch before it leaves the pitcher's hand and that's not what a judge is suppose to do," said Amundson.

But opponents of Amendment A fear if it passes, the governor could install the good old boy system.

"Governor's by nature are going to want to select people they are familiar with that they've known, went to law school with that person, maybe that lawyer supported their campaign, worked on their campaign," said Sioux Falls attorney, Doug Hoffman.

According to our scientific poll, more than half would like to leave the law the way it is, while 30% say yes, judges should be appointed by the governor. 17% are still undecided.

"To date in the state of South Dakota there has been no indication of any problems with judicial elections," said Hoffman.

"Judges aren't like politicians they don't have any specific group that are suppose to represent or curry from, they're just suppose to follow the law," said Amundson.

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