Deadline to Submit Ballot Measures for 2018 Election Approaching
Monday is the last day to submit a measure to appear on the 2018 ballot.
New Approach South Dakota is a state group collecting, counting, and validating signatures of support.
“What we have are initiative processes that we can partake in where we can collect enough signatures so that when our voices aren’t heard, we can make them be heard,” said Reina “Boots” Parker of New Approach South Dakota.
They are submitting a number of different measures that you might find on your ballot this time next year, such as legalizing medicinal cannabis, allowing registered independents to vote in the primary, and capping prescription costs.
“A lot of us are not happy with what the South Dakota legislature has and has not done for us, so we are forced to turn to ballot initiatives in order to get what we want,” said Parker.
New Approach South Dakota is a team of over 300 volunteers, and they say many of their biggest supporters are senior citizens with a passion for policy.
“We’re all human beings,” said Parker. “We’re not defined by a political party, and we shouldn’t have to be when it comes to legislative narrative.”
For Melissa Mentele, this journey did not start as a political one, but rather, a personal one. After surgery in 2012, she contracted reflex sympathetic dystrophy, which came with chronic pain. She discovered that cannabis helped relieve her persistent pain.
“I found a lotion that worked really well, and my doctor said well it’s time to change the law in the state,” said Mentele.
While next year’s election may seem far away, it’s been the group’s sole focus for the past 10 months.
“I went into the grocery store yesterday and they had Christmas trees out and I looked at the Christmas trees and I cannot believe that all of this time has passed,” said Mentele.
The group will hand in their petition with signatures to the secretary of state in Pierre on Monday.
“So, here we are. we are taking to this to the people by the people,” said Mentele.
It only takes 13,871 signatures for a measure to make the ballot, but New Approach South Dakota is hoping to collect 20,000 signatures by Monday.