On Nov. 8, South Dakota voters faced 10 ballot measures. They said “yes” on four of them. I hoped they might also approve Amendment T, independent redistricting, and Amendment V, non-partisan open primaries. Those two promised improvements in our broken system for selecting our representatives.
Nevertheless, I think public awareness has increased on some of the fundamental problems with our election system in S.D. I am interested to see what our legislative leaders might do in the upcoming legislative session with that information. If nothing changes, I suspect citizens may decide they want a second look at improving state government themselves in 2018.
I was fortunate to work on Amendment V with a group of fellow Republicans, along with Democrats and independents, all of whom were motivated to try to improve the fairness of our elections and the quality of our government. I hope to continue to work with them. Many of us, and many in the public learned some important lessons about our state government in the process. We learned that:
First, most S.D. legislators are not truly “elected.” Very few face a competitive general election to get into office. And legislators who don’t face a general election contest tend to be answerable to their party, not the electorate.
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