SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — This session, South Dakota lawmakers are considering a flood of bills impacting South Dakota elections. Many measures could become laws, from post-election audits to voter registration changes.

Attorney General Marty Jackley threw his support behind two of them. One would make it easier to prosecute people who lie about collecting petition signatures.

“We’ve had instances in South Dakota where the petition circulator had indicated they circulated it, they had witnessed the signatures when they were in another country,” said Jackley.

Jackley says the bill returns the ability to charge those people with perjury. The other election integrity Bill is Senate Bill 207 which would bolster the ban on the inappropriate use of taxpayer dollars.

“If a politician inappropriately uses taxpayer dollars to influence an election, they would be able to be prosecuted for that, and so it is mainly a deterrent value, but again we’ve incidents in South Dakota where that has happened. This now allows the attorney general to investigate and prosecute it,” said Jackley.

While the measure protects the use of public funds, the Attorney General says the bill does not restrict elected officials from speaking in their elected capacity.

Jackley says he’s comfortable with South Dakota election laws but

“There’s always room for improvement. I think the legislators talked about looking at a few more items over the summer, and so next session, I hope we will see a few more improvements,” said Jackley.

As the last week of the legislative session approaches, several bills are in the pipeline.
We will have a better idea by March 9th of what kinds of changes county auditors and voters will see.