Ballot Petitions: Some Turned In, Some Still Circulating, One Withdrawn

South Dakota was the first state in the nation to enact the initiated measure process, allowing voters to petition*to get measures on the ballot.

This year, more people than ever are taking advantage of that, with 13 ballot measures currently in circulation.

The deadline to submit petitions to the Secretary of State’s office is 5 p.m. Monday, November 9.

Some circulators have already submitted their petitions while thers are still out looking for more people to sign.

“With the weather its definitely getting more difficult,” said circulator Seth Jamsrisai. “But they’re all really important issues, so we’re just going it keep pushing until then.”

Jamsrisai is one of the few remaining petition circulators working to collect signatures before the deadline.

“There are 13 measures proposed, or should I say circulating at this time. And we have received five in the office so far, and so there is potentially eight more measures to come in,” Secretary of State Shantel Krebs said Thursday afternoon.

Those who have turned in their completed petitions have been celebrating on social media.

Thats especially true for the people behind one of the more controversial measures, the 36 percent rate cap on payday lending.

“It really is a tremendous sign of relief, I’m truly a little giddy, a little ecstatic today,” said Reynold Nesiba, treasurer for South Dakotan’s for Responsible Lending.

The group submitted 20,081 signatures to Kreb’s office on Thursday, 6,210 more than what was required.

“We ended up with more than we thought we’d end up with, there was just so many people this last week, mailing them in, I think there’s just a lot of support.”

Other ballot measures didn’t receive as much support from voters.

South Dakotan’s Against Prohibition, the group attempting to decriminalize possession of less than an ounce of marijuana fell short of their required goal, and will withdraw their measure from circulation.

However circulators like Jamsrisai say they’ll be working till the last day to make sure their measures make it to the November 2016 ballot.

“The whole team has decided that Saturday, we’ll drop whatever we’re doing and just really try and make it happen,” he said.

After all signatures are submitted, Krebs and her office will have to verify them.

She says with such a high number of circulating measures, she expects about 50 to 60 thousand pages of signatures to come in.

Krebs says she has set a goal to verify the submitted signatures by the end of the year, however state law doesn’t set a time limit on when it needs to be done.

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