Top-Two Open Primaries certified for the November Ballot

PIERRE, S.D.(Press Release) – The South Dakota Secretary of State has certified the top-two open primaries amendment for the November 2024 general election ballot. The measure will allow every voter in the state Republican, Democrat or independent—to make their voice heard in every election, giving South Dakotans more power in who represents us.

“Today, almost 150,000 South Dakotans who are independent or unaffiliated voters have almost no say and are shut out of taxpayer-funded primary elections. It’s just flat wrong,” said Joe Kirby, one of the initiative’s sponsors. “That’s why we’re so excited to be bringing forward this simple reform to make sure all registered voters have a voice in
who leads our state. We need to let all voters vote.”

The ballot measure creates a 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.

“Open primaries help hold politicians accountable, making sure they aren’t just handpicked in low-turnout partisan primaries. That’s why Republicans, Democrats, and Independents from across the state collected the signatures to stand up to the political establishment, and make sure that all South Dakota voices are heard clearly,” said De
Knudson, another sponsor.

Drey Samuelson, a third sponsor of the open primaries initiative said, “Open primaries are fairer and more competitive. They increase participation and make politics more rational. They produce winners that most South Dakota voters support. But most importantly, open primaries let all voters vote.”

Joe Kirby acknowledged: “Some party bosses on both the left and right are unhappy with the proposal that lets all voters vote. They prefer the system that allows them to pick candidates and eliminate those who don’t follow the party line.”

De Knudson said, “Now we need to switch gears from gathering signatures to helping all voters better understand our proposal and how it would work. Polls show that when they learn about it, they think it makes sense.”

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, and to ensure every South Dakotan has a say in who represents them