Plenty to Ponder: What Made the November Ballot in South Dakota 2024

Updates on South Dakota’s Ballot Measures for November 2024 Election

As the deadline for gathering signatures has passed, here’s a detailed look at the major ballot measures that South Dakota voters will face in the upcoming November 2024 election.

Right to Abortion

In a significant move, Dakotans for Health, co-founded by Rick Weiland, has submitted 55,000 signatures for a constitutional amendment that would secure the right to abortion in the state’s constitution. This initiative is particularly crucial as it aims to override the 2005 state trigger law activated by the overturning of Roe vs. Wade. This law currently imposes strict felony penalties related to abortion procedures, only exempting cases where the mother’s life is at risk. However, this petition faces opposition from the Life Defense Fund, which accuses Dakotans for Health of misleading actions during their campaign, a claim supported by photographic evidence according to the State Attorney General Marty Jackley.

Open Primaries

Another amendment on the horizon seeks to introduce “top-two” primaries for major state and local elections. Spearheaded by Joe Kirby from South Dakota Open Primaries, this measure garnered 46,500 signatures. Kirby is confident about its certification, highlighting a system that would allow all registered voters, regardless of party affiliation, to decide on the final two candidates for the general election. This proposal is seen as a way to dilute extreme partisan selections, reflecting a broader spectrum of voter preferences.

Recreational Marijuana

South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws has once again brought recreational marijuana to the ballot, with 29,030 signatures collected after a robust late campaign start. This is the third attempt to legalize recreational marijuana after mixed success in previous years, with the measure passing in 2020 but rejected in 2022. Campaign director Matthew Schweich admitted that the decision to push again in 2022 might have been premature, affecting voter enthusiasm.

Grocery Tax Repeal

The initiative led by Dakotans for Health to eliminate the state sales tax on groceries, except alcoholic beverages and prepared food, has also made its way to the ballot with 25,000 signatures. This measure, if passed, would cut the 4.2% state sales tax on groceries, which could reduce state revenue by $124 million annually. Despite opposition from the state legislature, the initiative enjoys broad public support, as evidenced by a recent poll.

Work Requirement for Medicaid

A constitutional amendment, initiated by the legislature, will ask voters if work requirements should be mandated for Medicaid recipients who are not physically or mentally disabled. This measure follows the expansion of Medicaid approved by South Dakota voters in 2022 and reflects ongoing debates about the role of government in healthcare.

Modernizing Government References

Voters will also see a procedural amendment aimed at updating the state constitution and statutes to remove male-only references to government officials. This change is designed to modernize the language and is expected to face little opposition.

As these measures prepare for the November ballot, they highlight a range of critical issues from healthcare and electoral reforms to drug policy and tax regulations, shaping the future political landscape of South Dakota.

Plenty to Ponder: What Made the November Ballot in South Dakota 2024

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