South Dakota Voters Will Vote on 'Top Two' Primary in November

Created: 24 May, 2024
1 min read

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A proposed amendment to the South Dakota Constitution to require a nonpartisan primary system in which all voters and candidates participate on a single ballot has been certified for the November ballot.

Amendment H, sponsored by South Dakota Open Primaries, would open primary elections to more than 150,000 independent voters who have been denied a say in the most critical elections in the state.

"Our top-two primaries constitutional proposal eliminates separate ballots for each party. All registered South Dakota voters would get the same ballot," said Joe Kirby of South Dakota Open Primaries.

Kirby has worked for years on primary reform in the state. He helped lead an effort to get a similar proposal on the 2016 ballot -- which failed to pass in a 44.5% to 55.5% vote.

South Dakota Open Primaries submitted 47,000 signatures to get Amendment H on the ballot -- which was nearly 12,000 more than the group needed.

Under "Top Two," the two candidates with the highest vote count in the primary move on to the general election, regardless of party. Similar systems are already in place in California and Washington.

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Alaska also uses a nonpartisan primary, but the process advances the top four candidates.

Read more about the proposed amendment here. Also check out Joe Kirby's op-ed, "It's Time to Let All Voters Vote in South Dakota's Taxpayer-Funded Primaries."

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