PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed a pair of bills Friday requiring ballot question signature gatherers to provide more information to voters or the secretary of state.
Some critics contend the measures will make it harder to put initiatives on the ballot because campaigns will have more trouble finding people to gather names.
One new law requires circulators to provide petition signers their name, email and phone number. The second mandates that signature collectors give the Secretary of State’s office residency information including their driver’s license number, the length of time at their current and past two addresses and their state of voter registration.
House Speaker Mark Mickelson, the second bill’s sponsor, has said it would make it easier for courts to determine whether circulators are residents. Republicans have pushed for changes to South Dakota’s ballot question system after the 2016 election season brought 10 questions and millions of dollars from out-of-state groups.
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Rebecca Terk is a lobbyist for Dakota Rural Action, which opposed the bills. She said they’re intended to create a “chilling effect on the process.”
The measures were among the final batch of bills that the Republican governor approved from the 2018 legislative session. He also vetoed three bills on Friday, including a proposal that would give home-schooled students another path to get the state’s Opportunity Scholarship.
Daugaard wrote in his veto message that it would hold home-schoolers to a lower standard than public or private high schools graduates.
The measure and another bill Daugaard rejected passed through the Legislature with more than two-thirds support, suggesting veto overrides are possible. State lawmakers return Monday for the session’s final day to debate whether to supersede the vetoes from Daugaard.
A bill Daugaard rejected that would let lawmakers introduce legislation earlier before a session starts didn’t get two-thirds support when senators voted to send it to the governor, but earlier versions did pass out of each chamber unanimously.
GOP Rep. Elizabeth May, the sponsor, told the Argus Leader that she plans to push for an override.
“The executive branch has 12 months. We as a Legislature have two,” May told the newspaper. “That’s not enough time. We need those bills out there for the public to see sooner than that.”
Daugaard wrote in the veto letter that the bill would give legislators the ability to seek media attention throughout the year by filing a bill to address “any newsworthy topic.”
“That is a grandstanding tactic that is all too common in Washington, D.C., and those bills rarely even receive a committee hearing,” he wrote.