Posted by Jesse Shayne on October 19, 2016 at 4:36 PM
No one should have to join a political party to exercise their right to vote
Supporters of the Vote Yes on Amendment V Campaign are promoting the initiative as a way to address the declining interest and trust in political institutions by young South Dakotans.
The Secretary of State’s Office has been working to reverse voting trends that showed only 1 in 5 South Dakota millennial age voters (voters age 18 to 30) participated in the 2014 general election, a figure significantly below regional and national averages.
Amendment V would establish a single, Nebraska-style open primary for all state and federal races except US President. Candidates would run together on a single ballot without party affiliation and all voters could vote for the candidate of their choice, including the state’s 115,000 independents.
“Young people are turned off by our current election system for a number of reasons, the biggest being that we literally slam the door and tell a huge chunk of young voters that they can’t participate in all of our state’s primary elections. Imagine being 18 or 20 years old, excited by your first opportunity to vote for a candidate whom you believe in, only to be told that you can’t have a ballot because you are registered independent. The fact is, a huge section of our state legislature is chosen in the closed Republican primary every June and tens of thousands of young voters aren’t even allowed to participate,” said Rick Knobe, Chairman of Vote Yes on Amendment V.
West River Co-Chair Nick Reid, a Rapid City small businessman, put it more succinctly, “No one should have to join a political party to exercise their right to vote.” Reid also shared the personal story of his son, a registered independent who has joined the U.S. Air Force, and his disappointment in this year’s primary election after he was denied an opportunity to cast a vote for state legislators after receiving his absentee ballot.
Vote Yes on Amendment V has been endorsed by AARP South Dakota, League of Women Voters of South Dakota, Dakota Rural Action and the Great Plains Tribal Chairs Association.