SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A group has filed a proposed Constitutional Amendment with the South Dakota Legislative Research Council to make all primary elections open to all registered voters.
The proposed ballot measure would make primary elections for federal, statewide, legislative and county races open for all South Dakota voters regardless of party affiliation. The LRC has 15 days to review the text of the proposed amendment and provide comments to the sponsors.
The group wants to get the measure on the 2024 ballot. You can read the proposed amendment below.
South Dakota Open Primaries is the group that wants open primary elections in South Dakota. Under current state law, only registered Republican voters can vote in the Republican Primary.
“We believe that primary elections in South Dakota should be open to all voters regardless of political affiliation,” Joe Kirby, a lifelong Republican and chairman of South Dakota Open Primaries, said in a news release. “Under our current system, too many South Dakotans are excluded from the primary process. It’s time to let all voters vote.”
The board of directors of South Dakota Open Primaries is composed of Kirby, former Sioux Falls City Council member De Knudson, former state lawmaker and Minnehaha County Commissioner Thomas Dempster and Drey Samuelson, former chief of staff for U.S. Senator Tim Johnson.
The proposed ballot initiative would establish a top two open primary system for the following elections: U.S. Senate, U.S. House, Governor, State Legislature and county elective offices. In each race, all the candidates would compete in a single primary open to all South Dakota voters. The two candidates that receive the most votes would advance to the general election.
To get the measure on the ballot, the group needs 35,017 valid signatures from registered South Dakota voters and submit the petitions to the state by November 5, 2023.