Jason Gant

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Jason Gant
Jason Gant.jpg
South Dakota Secretary of State
Former officeholder
In office
January 2011-January 2015
PredecessorChris Nelson (R)
Base salary$83,135
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 2, 2010
First electedNovember 2, 2010
Campaign $$333,512
Term limits2 consecutive terms
Prior offices
South Dakota State Senate District 11
High schoolGeddes High School
Bachelor'sUniversity of South Dakota (1999)
Date of birthDecember 18, 1976
Place of birthPlatte, SD
ProfessionOwner, Gant Group, Incorporated
Office website
Campaign website
Jason Gant (born December 18, 1976, in Platte, South Dakota) is the former South Dakota Secretary of State. A Republican, he previously served as a member of the South Dakota State Senate, representing the people of the eleventh senate district from 2003 until 2011.[1][2][3][4][5]

During his time in the legislature some of Gant's major issues included election reform, open campaign finance laws, open and transparent government, and online corporate filings.[6]

In July 2013, Gant was named as Treasurer of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS). As such he was a member of the executive committee and, if he had chosen to run and was re-elected as secretary of state in 2014, he would have served as President of NASS in 2015.[7]

Gant was eligible to run for re-election in 2014, but announced on September 11, 2013, that he would not seek a second term.[8]


Gant grew up working on the family farm. After graduating from college, he worked for a health insurance company, and went on to start his own healthcare consulting business. In 2004, he was elected to the state Senate and re-elected in 2006 and 2008.[9]

During his time in the Senate, Gant served in a number of roles, including Chairman of the Senate Government Operations and Audit Committee and Chairman of the Senate Local Government Committee.[10]

Gant has also served in the following roles:

  • Member, 4-H Alumni (1995-present)
  • Member, Future Farmers of America (FFA) Alumni (1995-present)
  • Member, Knights of Columbus (1995-present)
  • Member, Junior Achievement (1999-present)
  • Executive Board Member, Minnehaha County Republican Party (2003-present)
  • Member, Allocation Committee, Sioux Empire United Way (2003-present)
  • Executive Board Member, South Dakota Republican Party (2003-present)
  • Attendee, Leadership Sioux Falls (2004)
  • Member, Saint Micheal's Catholic Church


  • Geddes High School
  • B.A. in political science and business administration, University of South Dakota

Political career

South Dakota Secretary of State (2011-2015)

Gant was elected South Dakota's 27th Secretary of State on November 2, 2010.[11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21]

Call for impeachment

In June 2012, state Sen. Stan Adelstein (R) called for an investigation of the secretary of state's office after it came out that office employee Pat Powers, who later resigned, was running an online business selling campaign materials. Arguing it was inappropriate as the Secretary of State's office supervises elections, Adelstein asked the state attorney general to look into the store as well as the possibility of impeaching or removing Gant from office over the matter. Gant said he knew of Powers' business but had no involvement and received no benefit from it.

"I'm hoping to have Gant either resign himself or have him be removed from office based on that law for lack of ability to run that office," Adelstein stated.[22]

In July 2012, Attorney General Marty Jackley said his office found no evidence of criminal behavior by Powers or Gant.[23]

Concealed pistol permits

One of the duties of the Secretary of State is to manage concealed pistol permits. In April 2013, Gant stated, “even though we have issued a smaller number of permits in April, South Dakota has seen record numbers of new and renewed permits during the first quarter of 2013.” Between January and April 2013, 14,442 permits were issued.[24]

Endorsement questioned

In May 2012, Gant endorsed state Rep. Val Rausch (R) in the primary race for Senate. Gant's endorsement was questioned as he serves as the state's top election official. Former secretaries of state Joyce Hazeltine and Chris Nelson said they never endorsed candidates is state campaigns because of the role they served.[25][26][27]

Hazeltine, saying she was "a little bit concerned" about the endorsement, went on to say, "Personally, I don't like to see it happen. I think it's going a little bit too far, as far as our duties in the office were."[28]

Gant said he was not abusing his position. "My involvement in those campaigns is very minimal. The people are gonna make up their minds, it doesn't matter who says what. At the end of the day, as I've learned in all of my campaigns, it's all about shaking hands, saying hello to the voters," he stated.[29]

Four Directions complaint

In August 2013, Four Directions, an advocacy group for Native American voting rights, filed a federal election complaint against Gant following his refusal to create three early voting satellite offices in Indian Country.[30] According to the group, residents in the communities, which are among the poorest in the nation, do not have equal access to the polls due to lack of transportation or the money to travel to county courthouses, which can be 25-50 miles away.[31][32]

The group asked Gant to use federal money from the Help America Vote Act to create the offices. Gant said he did not have the authority to use the money for such offices, but said he would send a letter to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission asking for an opinion. “As soon as we get a response, we will review that and move forward,” he stated. However, as it turned out, the commission has not had the quorum necessary to issue opinions for years. Additionally, Gant serves on a committee within the National Association of Secretaries of State called the Task Force on the Disposition of EAC Duties, which seeks to eliminate the EAC.[33]

Bret Healey, consultant for Four Directions, stated, "You can't have your state's chief elections officer knowingly sending a letter for advice to a dead agency. He might as well be writing Santa Claus, because he's got a better chance of getting a response than with the EAC."[34][35]

National Association of Secretaries of State

In July 2013, Gant was named as Treasurer of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), a professional organization founded in 1904. Gant stated, "It is an honor to be selected as a national leader with NASS. The opportunity to serve in a leadership position will ensure that South Dakota initiatives are highlighted across the country.”[36][37][38]

As treasurer, Gant is a member of the executive committee. If Gant had chose to run and won re-election to the office of secretary of state in 2014, he would have served as President of NASS in 2015, becoming just the second from South Dakota to do so.[39][40]

During the 2012-2013 cycle, Gant served as co-chair of the National Association of Secretaries of State’s Committee on Elections alongside Rhode Island Secretary of State Ralph Mollis (D).[41]

Voter registration list update

Gant announced in October 2013 that he would be updating the state's voter registration list. The process, which he said takes place every two years, entails mailing postcards to people who have not voted or visited a county auditor to update the registration information in the previous four years, seeking to verify their voter registration. If they do not respond after two attempts, their status will be changed from active to inactive.[42][43]

South Dakota State Senate (2003-2011)

Gant was elected to the state senate in the fall of 2004 and re-elected in 2006 and 2008.[11]


On his 2010 campaign website for Secretary of State, Gant outlined what he sees as his five main areas of accomplishments during his time in the Senate. Excerpts are as follows:[6]

  • Election Reform: "Senator Jason Gant has lead the charge in passing numerous election reform pieces of legislation critical to the Secretary of State's office. Since first sworn in as Senator in 2005, Jason is the leader in the South Dakota Legislature helping make our South Dakota elections better."
  • Campaign Finance: "Senator Jason Gant understands the importance of comprehensive and open campaign finance laws, and that is why Jason continues to make our campaign finance laws better and more accessible to the public."
  • Open Government: "Senator Jason Gant began working with former Attorney General Larry Long in 2005 to set up a road map for opening up our South Dakota records. From the legislation in 2006 setting up an extensive review study of open government, to the historic legislation that passed in 2009, Jason has worked diligently over the years to open our records."
  • Transparency in Government: "Senator Jason Gant strongly believes that the best government is government that provides information to the people. Jason has lead the way on the creation of a South Dakota website that lists all of the expenditures of state government and an overhaul of our state contracting system."
  • Corporate Filings: Senator Jason Gant strongly believes that the entrepreneurs and small business owners are at the front lines of creating new jobs in our economy. Jason has been an outspoken advocate for allowing corporate filing to be completed in an electronic means, thus greatly eliminating the massive amounts of paper filings."

Committee assignments


In the 2009-2010 legislative session, Gant served on the following committees:[44][45]


A complete list of bills sponsored and co-sponsored by Gant during the 2009-2010 session is available here.



See also: South Dakota secretary of state election, 2014

Though eligible to run for re-election as South Dakota Secretary of State in 2014, Gant announced on September 11, 2013 that he would not seek a second term in the office.[46]

"I'm really proud of what we've done in the office. I'm proud of the implementation of vote centers. I'm excited that we're saving businesses in South Dakota left and right with the new online filing system and just so many good things I decided I was ready to start a new adventure," He stated.[47]

Gant faced a number of controversies in his first term, leading many to question his reason for not seeking re-election. Joel Rosenthal, former chair of the state Republican Party, said of the situation, "I think it's become increasingly clear to observers that South Dakota was going to get a new secretary of state. To Republicans... it was just a question about whether the new one was going to be a Republican or not."[48]

Zach Crago, interim director of the state Democratic Party, said, "I think over the last three years, we've seen an unprecedented level of partisanship and voter disenfranchisement from Secretary of State Jason Gant's office. And I think Republicans, Democrats and independents alike now understand that it's time for a change."[49]


See also: South Dakota Secretary of State election, 2010

Gant won election as South Dakota Secretary of State on November 2, 2010, easily defeating fellow state senator Ben Nesselhuf (D) and Constitution Party candidate Lori Stacey. Gant received 54.2 percent of the vote.[50] Incumbent Chris Nelson (R) was term-limited and unable to seek another term. The last time a Democrat held the position was in the 1970s.[51][52]

Gant received the endorsement of the South Dakota Republican Party[53] at the state party convention over Deputy Secretary of State Teresa Bray and State Representative Thomas Deadrick.[54][55]

South Dakota Secretary of State, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngJason Gant 54.2% 163,828
     Democratic Ben Nesselhuf 39.2% 118,635
     Constitution Lori Stacey 6.6% 19,971
Total Votes 302,434
Election Results via South Dakota Secretary of State

Campaign themes

On his campaign website, Gant outlined four main issues of his campaign. Here are excerpts:[56]

  • Election Reform: "The Secretary of State is the chief elections officer for the state, and I will make sure that we have best practices in place for our elections and re-counts...I will work diligently with all County Auditors across South Dakota to identify our strengths and weaknesses and create a best practices template for everyone to utilize. As Secretary of State, my main goal will be to ensure that we have the best election system in America."
  • Campaign Finance: "The more we know about the campaigns, the better informed voters we will all be. One of my goals as your next Secretary of State is to ensure that campaign finance information is readily available on the website and in an easy to use searchable format."
  • Corporate Filings: "In this day and age of computers and technology, we should offer these new businesses the quickest and most efficient form of corporate filings. As your next Secretary of State, I will make sure that businesses are able to file their corporate reports, annual reports and other filings in an electronic format to speed up time and efficiency."
  • Open and Transparent Government: "We should be able to see where our tax dollars are being spent, what contracts the state enters into, and have easy access to public government records. South Dakota's next Secretary of State must help lead the effort to ensure that the public is able to get this information, and I will do that."


  • DakotaWarCollege[57]
  • Mitchell Daily Republic[58]
  • National Rifle Association[59]
  • South Dakota Right to Life[60]


  • Jason Gant ran unopposed in this contest

Gant won re-election to District 11 in 2008, defeating Nate Welch (D) and D. Scott Bartlett (C).[61]

South Dakota State Senate, District 11, General Election, 2008
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngJason Gant Incumbent 58.2% 8,845
     Democratic Nate Welch 38.4% 5,832
     Constitution D. Scott Bartlett 3.4% 512
Total Votes 15,189


  • Jason Gant ran unopposed in this contest
2006 Race for State Senate, District 11 - General Election[62]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda Jason Gant 55.5%
     Democratic Party Rebekah A. Cradduck 40.0%
     Constitution Party D. Scott Bartlett 4.5%
Total Votes 10,482


2004 Race for State Senate, District 11 - Republican Primary[63]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda Jason Gant 51.1%
     Republican Party Ray A. Trankle 48.9%
Total Votes 3,356
2004 Race for State Senate, District 11 - General Election[64]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda Jason Gant 60.1%
     Democratic Party Lance Moran 36.6%
     Constitution Party D. Scott Bartlett 3.3%
Total Votes 12,017

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Gant is available dating back to 2004. Based on available campaign finance records, Gant raised a total of $333,512 during that time period. This information was last updated on May 10, 2013.[65]

Jason Gant's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 SD Secretary of State Not up for election $5,163
2010 SD Secretary of State Won $261,205
2008 SD State Senate Won $17,211
2006 SD State Senate Won $23,259
2004 SD State Senate Won $26,674
Grand Total Raised $333,512


Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Jason Gant's donors each year.[66] Click [show] for more information.


Jason's wife, Chris, is a Nurse Practitioner. Together they have three children - Abbi, Sophie, and Mallory. They are members of Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Pierre.[11][10]

Recent news

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Jason Gant News Feed

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Contact Information

South Dakota

Capitol Address:
Secretary of State
500 East Capitol Avenue, Suite 204
Pierre, SD 57501-5070

Phone: (605) 773-3537
Fax: (605) 773-6580
E-mail: sdsos@state.sd.us

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. KDLT News, "Jason Gant Elected S.D. Sec. of State," November 2, 2010
  2. Gant4SD, "Jason Gant elected SD Secretary of State," November 4, 2010
  3. Facebook, "Jason Gant, Secretary of State," accessed July 6, 2013
  4. Twitter, "Jason Gant@SOSGant," accessed July 6, 2013
  5. LinkedIn, "Jason Gant," accessed July 6, 2013
  6. 6.0 6.1 Jason Gant.com, " Accomplishments," accessed June 26, 2013
  7. Keloland, "Gant Named Treasurer Of National Association," July 24, 2013
  8. Argus Leader, "Secretary of State Jason Gant says he won't seek another term," September 11, 2013
  9. Project Vote Smart, "Secretary Jason M. Gant's Biography," accessed June 26, 2013
  10. 10.0 10.1 South Dakota Secretary of State, "Office of the Secretary," accessed March 7, 2013
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 South Dakota Secretary of State, "Biography" accessed January 17, 2013
  12. SoDakLiberty, "Thanks to South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant I May Have to Vote NO On All Proposed Amendments," October 13, 2012
  13. Election Law Blog, "South Dakota Secretary of State Jason M. Gant pleased with new cloud-based election night reporting solution," June 7, 2012
  14. Keloland, "SOS Gant: E-Poll Books Prevent Voter Fraud ," June 5, 2013
  15. Rapid City Journal, "Effort to oust Rapid City alderman falls short," June 4, 2013 (dead link)
  16. KDLT News, "E-Poll Books Used For School Board Election," May 16, 2013
  17. DRGNews, "Former SD Secretary of State Kundert Dies," June 10, 2013
  18. 'Argus Leader, "Morning Conversation with Jason Gant, SD Secretry of State," November 1, 2012
  19. Dakota Broadcasting, "Sec of State Jason Gant Encourages Students to Participate in Mock Election"
  20. Mitchell Republic, "LETTER: Voter ID law changes have helped process ," November 2, 2012 (dead link)
  21. KSOO, "South Dakota Secretary Of State Jason Gant Tackles Concerns With Voter ID Laws," October 18, 2012
  22. Real Clear Politics, "Embattled SD secretary of state employee resigns," July 6, 2012
  23. KSFY, "Jackley: No violations by Secretary of State Jason Gant, Pat Powers," July 17, 2012 (dead link)
  24. South Dakota State News, "Gant Announces Concealed Pistol Permits for April," April 2013
  25. Pure Pierre Politics, "The feud between Powers and Adelstein — Updated," June 19, 2012
  26. Madville Times, "Gant Loses Petition Challenges, Compounds Mistrust with Primary Endorsement," May 28, 2012
  27. Aberdeen News, "Republicans score big in South Dakota battles," May 28, 2012
  28. Real Clear Politics, "Gant's endorsement of GOP candidate questioned," May 27, 2012
  29. KSFY, "Secretary Gant discusses Rausch endorsement," May 29, 2012
  30. Rapid City Journal, "Elections board rejects resolution supporting Native American voting stations," August 1, 2013
  31. Argus Leader, "State cited in federal election complaint," August 7, 2013
  32. Indian Country, " Four Directions and Three Sioux Tribes File Civil Rights Complaint," August 7, 2013
  33. Argus Leader, "Secretary of state defers to empty election panel on Indian satellite voting centers," August 2, 2013
  34. Rapid City Journal, "Push for satellite voting centers intensifies," August 7, 2013
  35. Indian Country, "'They Caved': Tribe Claims Win in SD Voting-Rights Suit," August 13, 2013
  36. Chamberlain Sun, "Gant named Treasurer of National Association of Secretaries of State," July 24, 2013 (dead link)
  37. Political Smokeout, "Gant named treasurer of national group," July 24, 2013
  38. South Dakota State News, "Gant named Treasurer of National Association of Secretaries of State," July 2013
  39. KSOO, "South Dakota Lt. Governor, Secretary of State Win Another Election," July 24, 2013
  40. Rapid City Journal, "Gant named treasurer of national association," July 24, 2013
  41. Political Smokeout, "Gant to co-chair national elections committee," August 3, 2012
  42. Argus Leader, "Voter registration list being updated to prevent fraud," October 2, 2013
  43. The Republic, "South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant updating state's voter registration information," October 2, 2013
  44. South Dakota Legislature - List of Standing Committees
  45. South Dakota State Legislature, "2009 Members Senator Jason Gant Committees," accessed September 2, 2013
  46. Argus Leader, "Pressure within pushes Jason Gant out," September 12, 2013
  47. KSFY, "Secretary of State Jason Gant announces he will not seek re-election in 2014," September 11, 2013
  48. Argus Leader, "Secretary of State Jason Gant says he won't seek another term," September 11, 2013
  49. KSFY, "Political world reacts to Sec. of State Jason Gant's decision to not seek another term," September 11, 2013 (dead link)
  50. US Elections Atlas, "2010 Secretary of State general election results," accessed July 22, 2013
  51. Secretary of State Jason Gant, " Gant elected SD Secretary of State," November 4, 2010
  52. Secretary of State Jason Gant, "Jason Gant wins three-way contest," November 4, 2010
  53. The Republic, "SD GOP nominates state Sen. Jason Gant for secretary of state" 26 June, 2010
  54. South Dakota War College, "Rep Tom Deadrick. DDS, ESQ, and now possibly SOS?" 2 Nov. 2009 (dead link)
  55. Hog House, "Jason Gant sending SOS signals" 23 Sept. 2009
  56. Jason Gant.com, " My Vision for South Dakota," accessed June 26, 2013
  57. Secretary of State Jason Gant, "Gant receives DakotaWarCollege Endorsement for Secretary of State," June 18, 2010
  58. Secretary of State Jason Gant, "Mitchell Daily Republic Endorses Gant," October 31, 2010
  59. Secretary of State Jason Gant, "NRA Endorses Gant," October 27, 2010
  60. FireDogLake, "South Dakota Right To Life Endorses…For Secretary of State?," August 26, 2010
  61. South Dakota Secretary of State, " 2008 Official General Election Results," accessed September 2, 2013
  62. South Dakota Secretary of State - 2006 General Election Results
  63. South Dakota Secretary of State - 2004 Republican Primary Election Results
  64. South Dakota Secretary of State - 2004 General Election Results
  65. Follow the Money, " Career fundraising for Jason Gant," accessed May 10, 2013
  66. Follow the Money.org, "Home," accessed February 17, 2015

Political offices
Preceded by
Chris Nelson (R)
South Dakota Secretary of State
Succeeded by
Shantel Krebs (R)
Preceded by
Mitch Richter
South Dakota Senate - District 11
Succeeded by
Todd Schlekeway (R)