OUR VIEW: Amendment V good choice for SD - Open Primaries
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Posted by jesse shayne on September 16, 2016 at 10:00 AM

OUR VIEW: Amendment V good choice for SD

This article was published by the Daily Republic Editorial Board

Now here's something conservatives, moderates and liberals can agree on.

This November, South Dakotans will head to polling places with chance to step away from the partisan bickering that pervades our federal and state government at every turn.

With that in mind, we believe Amendment V is good for South Dakotans. Amendment V, which is backed by various Republicans, independents and Democrats, would remove a candidate's political party affiliation from the ballot, forcing candidates to depend on their qualifications and ideas rather than relying on the political machine to propel them into office.

We know South Dakotans are capable of making intelligent choices whether a political party is listed on the ballot or not. But removing the party label — a designation that pigeonholes our legislators into a rigid set of ideas they feel they must stick to in an effort to avoid backlash from their fellow party members — lawmakers would be beholden to the voters of South Dakota, not their political party.

Perhaps more importantly, Amendment V would remove the partisan primaries restricting political participation in our great state.

If you're one of 113,156 registered independents in South Dakota, and you happen to lean to the ideological right, you'll find yourself barred from voting in the state's Republican primary. Fortunately for the 21 percent of South Dakotans who choose not to affiliate with a political party, Amendment V would wipe the primary slate clean.

No longer would the state's 531,584 registered voters be restricted from one primary or the other. Each South Dakotan of voting age would be free to to support whichever candidate they choose.

We believe South Dakota's political leaders should be advocating measures that make participation in the political process more accessible, and Amendment V does just that.

If approved, Amendment V would create one primary, open to all voters, where the most popular candidates — regardless of their political affiliation — would advance to the general election in November. This could mean two Republicans advance and square off in a gubernatorial race, or two Democrats could battle for a seat in the state Senate. But, if that's the will of the voters, so be it.

So we encourage South Dakotans to take the time to review Amendment V and all of the other measures on the ballot in November.

And with Amendment V, we believe voters tired of partisan gridlock and ballot restrictions will join us in support of the amendment.

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