Ballot access requirements for political candidates in South Dakota

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This page compiles the various ballot access requirements for candidates running for elected office in the state of South Dakota. Offices included are:

This page contains information on specific filing dates for each election year, how to become a candidate, how to create a political party, campaign finance requirements, state agency contacts involved in the election process, and term limits in South Dakota. Information on running for election as a presidential candidate or for county and municipal offices is not included.

Note: If you have any questions or comments about this page, email us.

Year-specific years

2015

See also: South Dakota elections, 2015

There are no regularly scheduled state executive, state legislative or congressional elections in South Dakota in 2015.

2014


Political parties

See also: List of political parties in the United States

As of February 2015, there were five recognized political parties in South Dakota. These are listed in the table below. In order to be recognized by the state, a political party must fulfill certain requirements (detailed below in "Process to establish a political party").[3]

Party Website link By-laws/platform link
Republican Party Official party website Party by-laws
Americans Elect Party National party website
Democratic Party Official party website Party by-laws
Libertarian Party Official party website Party by-laws
Constitution Party Official party website

In some states, a candidate may choose to have a label other than that of an officially recognized party appear alongside his or her name on the ballot. Such labels are called political party designations. A political party designation would be used when a candidate qualifies as an independent, but prefers to use a different label. South Dakota does not allow candidates to identify in this way. A total of 25 states allow candidates to use political party designations in non-presidential elections.[4]

The 11 states listed below (and Washington, D.C.) do not provide a process for political organizations to gain qualified status in advance of an election. Instead, in these states, an aspirant party must first field candidates using party designations. If the candidate or candidates win the requisite votes, the organization may then be recognized as an official political party. In these states, a political party can be formed only if the candidate in the general election obtains a specific number of votes. The number of votes required and type of race vary from state to state. Details can be found on the state-specific requirements pages.[5]

Events

SB 69

On March 13, 2015, the South Dakota State Legislature passed SB 69. The legislation included the following provisions:[6]

  1. The bill moved the filing deadline for newly-qualifying political parties from the last Tuesday in March to the first Tuesday in March.
  2. The bill prohibited registered party members from signing the nominating petitions of independent candidates.
  3. The bill permitted the candidates of small ballot-qualified parties to access the primary ballot via one of the two following methods:
    1. obtaining signatures from 250 party members
    2. obtaining signatures from 1 percent of registered independent voters
  4. The bill raised the primary ballot signature requirement for candidates of large ballot-qualified parties from 1 percent of the party's previous gubernatorial general election vote to 1 percent of the party's total registered members.

On March 20, 2015, Governor Dennis Daugaard signed the bill into law.[6][7]

Libertarian Party files suit against state

On August 9, 2014, the Libertarian Party of South Dakota selected Ryan Gaddy as its general election nominee for Public Service Commissioner. South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant refused to accept Gaddy as the party's nominee, arguing that although Gaddy submitted an amended voter registration form to indicate his affiliation with the Libertarians on August 9, 2014, that form was not recorded by the county auditor until the following business week. The state holds, therefore, that he was not a party member at the time he was nominated (state law prohibits parties from nominating non-members). According to Richard Winger of Ballot Access News, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Tashjian v. Republican Party of Connecticut that the "freedom of association" clause contained within the First Amendment of the United States Constitution allows parties to nominate non-members.[8]

Constitution Party candidate denied ballot access

In March 2014, a gubernatorial candidate for the Constitution Party, Curtis Strong, had his petition rejected by the South Dakota Secretary of State for an insufficient number of signatures to get on the party’s primary ballot.[9] The secretary of state claimed that Strong submitted only 238 valid signatures, while Strong maintained he submitted 262 signatures and fully verified the registration status of each signer. South Dakota law requires the signatures of 250 party members in order for a gubernatorial candidate to appear on the party’s primary ballot. All ballot-qualified parties in the state, which includes the Constitution Party, nominate their candidates for governor and Congress through a primary ballot.[9] Without a gubernatorial candidate that achieves 2.5 percent of the total votes cast for governor, a party loses its ballot-qualified status. In 2010, the Constitution Party sued the state over its failure to get its gubernatorial candidate on the ballot that year due to the signature requirement.[9] Although the United States District Court ruled that the plaintiffs lacked standing, the court also said that the signature requirement was unconstitutional. According to ballot expert Richard Winger, the requirement is likely unconstitutional because the United States Supreme Court ruled in Storer v. Brown that if the signature requirement divided by the number of eligible signers is much greater than 5 percent, the law is unconstitutional. A 1985 court ruling in Pennsylvania held that a similar circumstance, in which the Consumer Party of Pennsylvania was required to obtain 2,000 signatures from 7,000 party members, was unconstitutional.[9]

Process to establish a political party

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Title 12, Chapter 12-5 of South Dakota Codified Law

A political party in South Dakota is defined as "a party whose candidate for governor at the last preceding general election at which a governor was elected received at least 2.5 percent of the total votes cast for governor."[10]

Party certification

  • A new political party may be organized and participate in the primary election by filing with the secretary of state no later than the first Tuesday of March at 5 p.m. prior to the date of the primary election.[11]
  • A new political party must submit a written declaration signed by at least 2.5 percent of the voters of the state as shown by the total vote cast for governor at the last preceding gubernatorial election.[11]
  • The written declaration must contain:
    1. The name of the proposed party
    2. A brief statement of the party's principles.[11]
  • No signature on a declaration is valid if the declaration was signed more than one year prior to the filing of the declaration.
  • A political party loses the right to participate in the primary election by failing to poll its candidate for governor at least 2.5 percent of the total votes cast for that office.[11]
Votes cast in 2010 gubernatorial election[12] Number of signatures to achieve certification
317,083 7,928

Constitution and bylaws

  • A political party must also adopt a constitution or a set of bylaws to govern its organization and the conduct of its affairs. The party's constitution and bylaws must not be inconsistent with laws of South Dakota.
  • The party central committee shall certify to and file with the secretary of state's office a copy of the document and amendments within 30 days of their approval.
  • If a party chooses to elect precinct committeemen and committeewomen at the primary election, the party shall provide for such election in the party's constitution or bylaws.[13][14]

Nomination of candidates

  • If a political party qualifies for the primary ballot, each candidate intending to participate in that party's primary election must file a nominating petition.
  • State and federal candidates for that party must file a petition bearing signatures of at least 250 registered voters in that party.
  • Legislative and county candidates for that party shall file a petition bearing signatures of at least five registered voters in that party.
  • The state convention will nominate candidates for Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, Commissioner of School and Public Lands, and Public Utilities Commissioner.
  • Each political party will hold a state convention in each even-numbered year as necessary for the nomination of the above statewide candidates. The time and place of holding such convention shall be determined by the State Central Committee of each political party, the chairman of which shall notify the secretary of state at least 30 days previous to the date so chosen.[15][16][17]

Process to become a candidate

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Title 19, Chapter 12-6, Title 19, Chapter 12-7 of South Dakota Codified Law

For primary candidates

A primary election candidate must file a petition no earlier than January 1, and not later than the last Tuesday of March at 5 p.m., prior to the primary election. The petition must contain the required signatures and a Declaration of Candidacy. The Declaration of Candidacy must be completed before the candidate collects signatures. The declaration must be completed in the presence of an authorized notary public. A petition for party office or partisan public office must be signed by no less than 1 percent of the party's total registered members in the applicable electoral district. For a state legislative candidate, the petition must be signed by the lesser of 50 voters or 1 percent of the party's total registered members in that district. Any state legislative candidate must be a resident of the district for which he or she is a candidate at the time he or she signs the Declaration of Candidacy.[18][19][20][21]

For independent candidates

Any candidate for nonjudicial public office who is not nominated by a primary election may be nominated as an independent candidate by filing with the South Dakota Secretary of State or county auditor. Filing must be completed no earlier than January 1 at 8:00 a.m. and no later than the last Tuesday of April at 5:00 p.m., prior to the election. An independent candidate's Certificate of Nomination must be signed by registered voters within the applicable district or political subdivision. The number of signatures required may not be less than 1 percent of the total combined vote cast for governor at the last certified gubernatorial election within the district or political subdivision. Registered party members cannot sign petitions for independent candidates. No petition or Certificate of Nomination may be circulated prior to January 1 of the year in which the election will be held. Primary election candidates are prohibited from filing as independent candidates for the same office in the same year. No candidate can file a Certificate of Nomination for an office for which he or she has been a candidate in the primary election of the same year. Any candidate for office in the state legislature must be a resident of the district for which he or she is a candidate at the time he or she signs the Declaration of Candidacy.[21][22][23][24][25]

For informational purposes, the table below provides examples for signature requirements for independent candidates running in 2014:

State House District 7 State Senate District 20 State House District 26A State Senate District 28A South Dakota 1st Congressional District
Required number of signatures 76 98 27 31 3,171

For write-in candidates

The relevant statutes do not stipulate that a candidate may run as a write-in candidate. Write-in candidates for president are expressly prohibited.[26]

Petition requirements

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: South Dakota Codified Law Section 12-13-28, Section 12-6-8, Section 12-7-1.1

In some cases, political parties and/or candidates may need to obtain signatures via the petition process to gain access to the ballot. This section outlines the laws and regulations pertaining to petitions and circulators in South Dakota.

Circulation requirements

In South Dakota, there are several requirements for circulators gathering signatures on behalf of a candidate. These requirements include:

  1. Must be 18 years old
  2. Must be South Dakota resident
  3. Must personally witness each signature on petition circulated
  4. Verification of signatures after circulation must be witnessed by notary public
  5. Must state under oath that no statute regarding petition circulation was knowingly violated,
  6. Must make reasonable inquiry that determines each signer is a registered voter of the state and county indicated on the petition.
  7. A circulator may be employed at an hourly wage or salary, but must not be paid or rewarded based on the number of signatures to the petition.[27]

Campaign finance

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Chapter 12, Section 27 of South Dakota Codified Law

Each candidate must have a campaign committee. A "candidate campaign committee" is defined as "any entity organized by a candidate to receive contributions and make expenditures for the candidate."[28]

Campaign organization

Figure 1: This is the Statement of Organization Form for Candidates and Political Action Committees.

A candidate's campaign committee must have and continually maintain a chair and a treasurer, which may be the same person. The chair and treasurer for a candidate campaign committee are appointed by the candidate, and the candidate may serve as either or both. No political committee may receive or make contributions or pay expenses while the office of treasurer is vacant.[29]

The candidate must file a Statement of Organization with the South Dakota Secretary of State no later than 15 days after becoming a candidate. A person is considered a candidate if the person raises, collects, or disburses contributions in excess of $500; has authorized the solicitation of contributions or the making of expenditures; or has created a candidate campaign committee for the purpose of obtaining public office. The person is also deemed a candidate if the person has taken all actions required by state law to qualify for nomination for or election to public office.[30]

The Statement of Organization may be filed electronically. A candidate's Statement of Organization must include the following:[31]

  • the name, street address, postal address, and daytime telephone number of the committee
  • the name, street address, postal address, and daytime telephone number of the chair and the treasurer of the committee
  • a statement of the type of political committee that has been or is being organized (in the case of a candidate campaign committee, the name, street address, and postal address of the candidate)
  • the name, street address, postal address, and telephone number of each financial institution where an account or depository is maintained

The statement must be signed by the candidate and treasurer for a candidate campaign committee or filed electronically.

Contribution rules

No person, organization, candidate, political committee, or political party may give or accept a contribution unless the name and residence address of the contributor is made known to the person receiving the contribution. Any contribution, money, or other thing of value received by a candidate, political committee, or political party from an unknown source must be donated to a nonprofit charitable organization.[32]

No organization may make a contribution to a candidate committee or political party. An "organization" includes any business corporation, limited liability company, nonprofit corporation, business trust, or entity organized in a corporate form under federal or South Dakota law.[33][34]

No candidate may accept any contribution from any state, state agency, or political subdivision of the state.[35]

Contribution limits

A candidate is not allowed to receive more than the following from a single contributor:

  • $4,000 for statewide office candidates
  • $1,000 for legislative and county office candidates[36]

Statements of financial interest

Any candidate for the United States Senate, the United States House of Representatives, governor, circuit court judge, or the state legislature must file a statement of financial interest with the South Dakota Secretary of State within 15 days after filing nominating petitions.[37]

Any candidate for lieutenant governor, state treasurer, attorney general, secretary of state, state auditor, public utilities commissioner, or commissioner of school and public lands must file a statement of financial interest with the South Dakota Secretary of State within 15 days after their nominations have been certified.[38]

Reporting schedule

Pre-election (primary and/or general) statements must be filed with the South Dakota Secretary of State on the second Friday prior to each primary and general election complete through the 15 day prior to that election. Year-end statements must be received by the South Dakota Secretary of State by 5:00 p.m. each February 1. This must include information from the end of the last filed report through the last day of the preceding calendar year. A supplemental statement must be filed if any candidate campaign committee for statewide office, political action committee, ballot question committee, or political party receives a contribution of $500 or more within 14 days immediately prior to an election. The statement must be filed within 48 hours of the receipt of the contribution.[39]

Financial disclosure

A campaign finance disclosure statement must include the following information:

  • committee name, street address, postal address, city, state, zip code, daytime and evening telephone number, and e-mail address
  • type of campaign statement (pre-primary, pre-general, mid-year, year-end, amendment, supplement, or termination)
  • the balance of cash and cash equivalents on hand at the beginning of the reporting period
  • the total amount of all contributions received during the reporting period
  • the total amount of all in-kind contributions received during the reporting period
  • the total of refunds, rebates, interest, or other income not previously identified during the reporting period
  • the total of contributions, loans, and other receipts during the reporting period
  • the total value of loans made to any person, political committee, or political party during the reporting period
  • the total of expenditures made during the reporting period
  • the total amount of all expenditures incurred but not yet paid (an expenditure incurred but not yet paid must be reported on each report filed after the date of receipt of goods or services until payment is made to the vendor; a payment shall be listed as an expenditure when the payment is made)
  • the cash balance on hand as of the close of the reporting period
  • the total amount of contributions of $100 or less in the aggregate from one source received during the reporting period

Further requirements for campaign financial disclosure statements can be accessed here.

The treasurer of a candidate's political committee must maintain and preserve detailed and accurate records of all contributions, loans received or made, receipts, invoices, and bills. These are to be maintained and preserved for a period of seven years, or three years past the date of filing the termination statement for the election for which the contribution or expenditure was made, whichever is earlier.[40]

Election-related agencies

See also: State election agencies

Candidates running for office will require some form of interaction with the following agencies:

  • South Dakota Secretary of State
Why: This agency provides and processes nominating petitions and campaign finance forms.
Capitol Building
500 East Capitol Avenue, Suite 204
Pierre, SD 57501-5070
Phone: 605.773.3537
Fax: 605.773.36580
Website: http://www.sdsos.gov/electionsvoteregistration/electionsvoteregistration_overview.shtm
Email:elections@state.sd.us

Term limits

State executives

Portal:State Executive Officials
See also: State executives with term limits and States with gubernatorial term limits

The state executive term limits in South Dakota are as follows:

  • The governor may serve a total of two terms.
  • The comptroller may serve a total of two terms.
  • The lieutenant governor must wait four years and/or one full term before being eligible again after serving two consecutive terms.
  • The secretary of state must wait four years and/or one full term before being eligible again after serving two consecutive terms.
  • The attorney general must wait four years and/or one full term before being eligible again after serving two consecutive terms.
  • The treasurer must wait four years and/or one full term before being eligible again after serving two consecutive terms.
  • The auditor must wait four years and/or one full term before being eligible again after serving two consecutive terms.

There were no term-limited state executive officials in 2014.

State legislators

See also: State legislatures with term limits

A politician can serve in the South Dakota State Legislature for four terms (eight years) in each of the two chambers, the South Dakota State Senate and the South Dakota House of Representatives.[41]

2014

See also: Impact of term limits on state senate elections in 2014 and Impact of term limits on state representative elections in 2014

A total of six state legislators were termed out in 2014.

Name Party Chamber District
Betty Olson Ends.png Republican State House District 28B
Brian Gosch Ends.png Republican State House District 32
David Lust Ends.png Republican State House District 34
David Novstrup Ends.png Republican State House District 3
Lance Carson Ends.png Republican State House District 20
Manford Steele Ends.png Republican State House District 12

2012

See also: Impact of term limits on state senate elections in 2012 and Impact of term limits on state representative elections in 2012

A total of 10 state legislators were termed out in 2012.

2010

See also: Impact of term limits on state senate elections in 2010 and Impact of term limits on state representative elections in 2010

A total of 12 state legislators were termed out in 2010.

Congressional partisanship

Portal:Congress
See also: List of United States Representatives from South Dakota and List of United States Senators from South Dakota

Here is the current partisan breakdown of the congressional members from South Dakota:

Congressional Partisan Breakdown from South Dakota
Party U.S. Senate U.S. House Total
     Democratic Party 0 0 0
     Republican Party 2 1 3
TOTALS as of April 2015 2 1 3

State legislative partisanship

Portal:State legislatures

Here is the current partisan breakdown of members of the state legislature of South Dakota:

State Senate

Party As of April 2015
     Democratic Party 8
     Republican Party 25
     Vacancy 2
Total 35

State House

Party As of April 2015
     Democratic Party 12
     Republican Party 58
Total 70


Recent news

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Some of the stories below may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of Google's news search engine.

Ballot access requirements for political candidates in South Dakota - Google News Feed

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See also

External links

Official state and federal links

Forms

Other information

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 South Dakota Secretary of State, "2014 Candidate Calendar," accessed November 6, 2013
  2. Phone call with South Dakota Secretary of State, October 9, 2013.
  3. South Dakota Secretary of State, "Election FAQ," accessed February 11, 2015
  4. South Dakota Codified Law, "Title 12-7-1," accessed February 4, 2014
  5. E-mail consultation with ballot access expert Richard Winger in January 2014.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Ballot Access News, "South Dakota Legislature Passes Bill Making Ballot Access Worse," March 16, 2015
  7. Ballot Access News, "South Dakota Governor Signs Bill that Injures Ballot Access," March 20, 2015
  8. Ballot Access News, "South Dakota Libertarian Party Files Lawsuit to Put its Nominee for Public Service Commissioner on Ballot," August 25, 2014
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Ballot Access News, "South Dakota Constitution Party Gubernatorial Nominee’s Primary Petition Rejected by Secretary of State," March 28, 2014
  10. South Dakota Codified Law, "Title 19-1-3(10)," accessed January 30, 2014
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 South Dakota Codified Law, "Title 12-5-1," accessed January 30, 2014
  12. South Dakota Secretary of State Website, "South Dakota General Election, November 2, 2010," accessed January 30, 2014
  13. South Dakota Codified Law, "Title 12-5-1.1," accessed January 30, 2014
  14. South Dakota Codified Law, "Title 12-5-2," accessed January 30, 2014
  15. South Dakota Codified Law, "Title 12-5-1.4," accessed January 30, 2014
  16. South Dakota Codified Law, "Title 12-5-21," accessed January 31, 2014
  17. South Dakota Codified Law, "Title 12-5-17," accessed January 31, 2014
  18. South Dakota Codified Law, "Title 12-6-4," accessed January 31, 2014
  19. South Dakota Secretary of State, "Circulating a Nominating Petition," accessed October 29, 2013
  20. South Dakota Codified Law, "Title 12-6-7," accessed January 31, 2014
  21. 21.0 21.1 South Dakota Codified Law, "Title 12-7-6," accessed February 4, 2014
  22. South Dakota Codified Law, "Title 12-7-1," accessed February 4, 2014
  23. South Dakota Codified Law, "Title 12-7-1," accessed February 4, 2014
  24. South Dakota Codified Law, "Title 12-7-1.1," accessed February 4, 2014
  25. South Dakota Codified Law, "Title 12-7-5," accessed February 4, 2014
  26. South Dakota Codified Law, "Title 12-20-21.2," accessed February 17, 2014
  27. South Dakota Secretary of State, "Circulating Nominating Petitions," accessed January 2, 2014
  28. South Dakota Codified Law, "Title 12-27-1," accessed February 4, 2014
  29. South Dakota Codified Law, "Title 12-27-2," accessed February 4, 2014
  30. South Dakota Codified Law, "Title 12-27-1," accessed February 4, 2014
  31. South Dakota Codified Law, "Title 12-27-6," accessed February 5, 2014
  32. South Dakota Codified Law, "Title 12-27-11," accessed February 5, 2014
  33. South Dakota Codified Law, "Title 12-27-18," accessed February 5, 2014
  34. South Dakota Codified Law, "Title 12-27-1," accessed February 5, 2014
  35. South Dakota Codified Law, "Title 12-27-21," accessed February 5, 2014
  36. South Dakota Codified Law, "Title 12-27," accessed April 9, 2014
  37. South Dakota Codified Law, "Title 12-25-28," accessed February 5, 2014
  38. South Dakota Codified Law, "Title 12-25-29," accessed February 5, 2014
  39. South Dakota Secretary of State, "Campaign Finance FAQ," accessed November 26, 2013
  40. South Dakota Codified Law, "Title 12-27-29," accessed February 5, 2014
  41. The Council of State Governments, "State Legislative Branch," accessed October 28, 2013