SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – There are still about 20 months left until the general election of November 2022, but the process of getting new measures on the ballot has already started.
In the 2020 general election, South Dakotans voted on three ballot measures, and though that election has come and gone, some organizations are already looking forward to the 2022 election and putting in the work for new ballot measures.
Dakotans for Health are focusing their efforts on getting Medicaid expansion on the 2022 election ballot.
“That would allow 42,000 more people, more individuals, to have Medicaid. And these are low-income people or they haven’t been able to qualify for disability and they don’t have a child that has Medicaid,” Pamela Cole, the grassroots organizer for Dakotans for Health said. “So that is 42,000 people with 17 thousand dollars, or less, income per year. So right now, they have very little chance of having any health care coverage.”
Cole says the benefits of expanding Medicaid go beyond just the individuals receiving it.
“Also for their employers to have more healthy employees and finally, so hospitals, counties, they don’t have to pick up the tab when people do get sick, because they definitely do in that group of people,” she said. “And if they’re not able to pay for their care, hospitals, counties and other clinics, they all have to pick up the tab.”
The goal is to get 65,000 signatures for the proposed ballot measure. Dakotans for Health has until November 8th of this year to do so.
“We’ve got over 150 people right now actively circulating our petition,” Rick Weiland, co-founder of Dakotans for Health said. “We have over 500 people that have signed up to help with the campaign. I’ve never really seen anything like that, that kind of energy around a initiated measure.”
Lanny Stricherz of Sioux Falls is one of those volunteers. He has gone to the downtown post office to get signatures.
“Anything to promote democracy,” Stricherz said.
The League of Women Voters was also at the petition signing event today with their own proposed ballot measure that’s focused on redistricting.
“We have a petition on the redistricting process to create an independent redistricting commission in our state,” Amy Scott-Stoltz, the state president for the League of Women Voters said. “Currently the legislators are allowed to draw their own districts and we think that’s a conflict of interest.”
Scott-Stoltz says no party would have a majority within that commission.
Dakotans for Health and the League of Women Voters will be taking signatures at the Icon Hall every Saturday this month.