South Dakota Open Primaries turn in petitions to place it on the November ballot

PIERRE, S.D.(Press Release) – On Monday, South Dakota Open Primaries filed petitions containing 47,000 signatures with the Secretary of State’s office today to put its proposed top two open primary election initiative on the November 2024 ballot. The state requires 35,017 signatures to put a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot. The group has been working for over a year to give voters the chance to improve the way primary
elections work in South Dakota.

One of the initiative’s sponsors, Joe Kirby said, “Today 150,000 independent or unaffiliated South Dakota voters have little to no say in who will represent them or lead the state. We feel that is unfair and undemocratic. We believe all voters should have equal access to the state’s elections.”

Our top-two primaries constitutional amendment would create one South Dakota primary. All candidates would be listed together on a single primary ballot. All voters would get that ballot. The top-two vote-getters would advance to the general election in November.

The South Dakota Primary would cover the three congressional offices, the governor, and legislative and county offices.

De Knudson, another sponsor said, “Open primaries are important because they make sure the winning candidate is the one most South Dakotans agree on.”

She also said, “I am appreciative of how many people have stepped forward to get signatures on petitions. This issue really resonates with a lot of people, especially independent minded South Dakotans.”

Drey Samuelson, a third sponsor of the open primaries initiative said, “Open primaries are fairer and more competitive. They increase participation. And when more voices are heard, politicians are more likely to act on issues that actually matter to the state. But most importantly, they let all voters vote.”

Joe Kirby acknowledged that some party bosses on both sides of the aisle are unhappy with the proposal. They prefer the system that allows them to pick candidates and eliminate those who don’t follow the party line.

South Dakota Open Primaries is a grassroots group of dozens of Republicans, Democrats and Independents from around the state who want to make the state’s publicly financed primary more fair, more competitive and less polarizing.