Thursday, February 23, 2012

South Dakota House Bill 1182 Unfair to Independent Candidates

Why are counties not in planning districts? (LETTER Rapid City Journal by Kim Wright, South Dakota Voice of Independents, Rapid City)
House Bill 1182 unfair to independent candidates
House Bill 1182 seeks to revise the filing deadline for the nomination of certain independent candidates. The proposed revision reduces the timeline for independent candidates to circulate nomination petitions for public office.

When Rep. Mark Kirkeby introduced this bill in the House State Affairs Committee, he explained that there is a growing number of South Dakota voters registering as Independent. This is a national trend.
Currently the percent of registered independent voters exceeds the percent of voters registered with either of the major parties.

When asked his rationale for introducing this bill limiting the time frame for independent candidates to collect signatures, secure campaign resources and engage voters, Rep. Kirkeby responded that it was an issue of “fairness.”

I did not have an opportunity to ask for clarification of “fair.” If considering the concept of fairness, I would ask Rep. Kirkeby: Is it fair that Independent candidates must collect considerably more signatures than their major party opponents in order to seek public office? How fair is it that registered Independent voters are denied the right to vote in primary elections?

I would suggest that the rationale for HB 1182 is much more about maintaining political party control than about equitable opportunities.

Kim Wright, South Dakota Voice of Independents
Rapid City

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