SIOUX FALLS, SD -
South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard is apologizing for the statements he made Wednesday night on KELOLAND News at 10.
Daugaard said that the issues on the ballot this year failed in large part because voters didn't have time to study and make an informed decision.
Two of the big issues were Referred Law 14, a large project fund backed by the governor, and Referred Law 16 which was Daugaard's proposed education reform that would have given bonuses to the top teachers in South Dakota.
Both measures failed by double-digit margins.
Daugaard's comments were recommended and shared on Facebook more than 1,200 times and have drawn more than 40 comments on KELOLAND.com.
"I have taken the time to study the measures which I concluded to vote "NO". How dare you accuse the people of SD of casting a vote because we are mis-informed," Frank Regas wrote in his comments.
"A long ballot? Are you kidding me? It was front and back. In some states the ballot was over 15 pages long,” Andrew Simmons said in another comment on Wednesday’s story.
Simmons agreed to expand on his comments on Thursday during an interview with KELOLAND News.
"With about 15 to 20 minutes of research I was able to be pretty well informed with all my decisions," Simmons said.
Simmons admits that some people were saying at his polling place that they didn't understand everything on the ballot but he says the referred laws on the large project fund and the one dealing with teacher bonuses were pretty easy to figure out.
"[Referred Law] 14, 15, and 16 were probably the easier ones to find information on just because all of the attention," Simmons said.
More than a half million dollars was spent by both sides of the teacher bonus issue combined during the election cycle to inform voters.
Deb Merxbauer is the President of the Sioux Falls Education Association that was opposed to the bill.
"We feel strongly that the voters were educated, that they have listened to both sides. There's been a lot of campaigning and education on both sides of this issue clear since the legislation was introduced last spring," Merxbauer said Thursday.
In response to all the comments the governor himself sent KELOLAND News a statement apologizing.
"I'm sorry if I offended anyone with what I said,” Daugaard wrote. “I have great respect for the voters and I appreciate the time they take to study and understand the ballot measures, especially in a year when there are so many of them. The voters have a healthy skepticism, and when they feel their questions haven't been answered, they make the sensible decision to vote 'no.'"
And voting no is what hundreds of thousands of voters did on this year's ballot measures.
To put Referred Law 16, the teacher bonus legislation, into perspective more people voted on that issue than voted in either of the Public Utilities Commission races at the top of the ballot.
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