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Voters Respond To Governor's Comments

November 8, 2012, 5:56 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Voters Respond To Governor's Comments
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

Governor Dennis Daugaard is apologizing for comments he made over the failed referred laws on the ballot.

The governor said  Referred Laws 14 and 16 failed because voters didn't have time to study the issues.  Voters shot the laws down by wide margins and both ideas were directly backed by Governor Daugaard's office.

"The voters don't have time to dig into and understand the facts that bare upon an informed decision and so when voters don't have that time then most are included to say, 'Well, I don't have time to dig into this and so I'm going to vote no,'" Daugaard said on Wednesday.

Referred Law 14 was a large project development fund created to give incentives to companies that located in South Dakota.  It failed 58 to 42.  Referred Law 16 was an education reform package proposed by the governor's office.  It included five proposals, including giving top math and science teachers bonuses based on an evaluation system.  It failed by about two to one on Election Day.

The original story with the governor's reason why they failed has been recommended on Facebook more than 1,200 times, receiving nearly 50 comments.  One of the men who commented on the story talked to us on Thursday.

Andrew Simmons said while it's true some people he talked to at his polling place were unclear about the ballot issues, most people were informed.

"We take our responsibility very seriously. We wouldn't just go to the polls and randomly fill in circles," Simmons said.

Here are some more of the dozens of comments posted.

"With all due respect, Governor, I find your statements very condescending. I am an informed voter and I also take my right to vote very seriously," Kathy Baker Kramer said.

But others support the governor.

"Referred Law 14 would have given the state another tool in helping diversify the state's economy, provide jobs and add resources to the state's treasury. The governor was right; voters didn't understand this issue," Michael Maag said.

We reached out to the governor's office for further comment and the governor himself personally sent us a statement apologizing for the comments.

"I'm sorry if I offended anyone with what I said.  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,'" Daugaard wrote.

When we looked at the election returns, we found that more people voted for Referred Law 16 on this year's ballot than voted on any of the two Public Utilities Commission races, which shows you the kind of interest there was in the issue.

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