Compiled by the Office of Secretary of State Joyce Hazeltine
SDCL 12-13-23 requires the Office of the
Secretary of State to prepare and distribute public information
concerning constitutional amendments, initiatives and referred
measures. This pamphlet is prepared by soliciting statements from
the proponents and opponents of amendments and measures.
The title, explanation and effect of a vote for each ballot question
were provided by the Attorney General. No other statements on this
pamphlet reflect the opinion of the State or the Attorney General.
The information was compiled by the Secretary of State as supplied
by the writers, was not verified by the Secretary of State and does
not reflect the position of the State regarding the legality or
effect of the amendments or measures. The Secretary of State does
not guarantee the accuracy of any claims made by the proponent or
opponent writers in this brochure.
Constitutional Amendment H
Title: Amendments to Article III,
Section 3 of the South Dakota Constitution, relating to age
qualifications for legislative office, and to Article IV, Section 2
of the South Dakota Constitution, relating to the age qualifications
for Governor and lieutenant governor.
Attorney General Explanation
The Constitution requires that state senators and
representatives be 25 years of age or older, and that the Governor
and lieutenant governor be 18 years of age or older. Amendment H
would lower the age qualification for state senators and
representatives from 25 to 21, and would raise the age qualification
for the Governor and lieutenant governor from 18 to 21.
A vote "Yes" will establish the minimum age
requirements for state legislators, the Governor, and the lieutenant
governor, at 21 years old.
A vote "No" will leave the Constitution as it is.
Pro -Constitutional Amendment H
Every state in our country has a minimum age to
seek elected office. South Dakota is no different. Our constitution
presently requires a person to be of voting age (18 years old) to
run for governor and (25 years old) to run for the legislature.
Amendment H will change the South Dakota Constitution, so the age to
seek the governors office, and to run for the state legislature,
will be the same, 21 years of age.
The 1998 South Dakota legislature recently passed this ballot
measure with overwhelming support for changing the age to 21. Many
legislators felt 18 years of age was too young to seek office, as
most people have just completed high school. Other legislators felt
25 years old was denying our younger citizens the right to seek
legislative office. The consensus was, 21 years of age was
considered a reasonable age for those wishing to seek office, as
this age also coincides with our laws allowing the consumption of
Amendment H will correct a long standing inequity concerning the
citizens of our state. That inequity is equal rights. The strongest
message our government can send is, We Are All Created Equal. Our
constitution and our daily lives are deeply rooted in equal rights.
South Dakota’s constitution requiring two different age requirements
to seek office for two separate, but equal branches of government,
is in conflict with the very spirit of our constitution.
It’s the duty of our legislative government to make these elected
offices available to all on an equal basis. We must take issue with
any law, ordinance or rule that separates people by age, color,
race, or creed. No one knows the perfect age to be qualified to seek
elective office, but our present constitution absolutely separates
people by age when seeking public office. That’s why a vote YES on
Amendment H is so important, it will restore equality to our
Submitted by: Rep. Bill Napoli, 6180 S Highway 79, Rapid City, SD
57701. Rep. Napoli repre- sents legislative district 35.
Con - Constitutional Amendment H
Constitutional Amendment H proposes
to lower the minimum age for legislators from twenty-five to
twenty-one and to establish the same age restriction for Governor
and Lieutenant Governor.
HJR1002 as originally introduced in the 1998 legislative session
would have left the minimum age for legislators at twenty-five and
established a minimum age of twenty-five to hold the office of
Governor and Lieutenant Governor. I could have supported that
My opposition to Amendment H has more to do with the minimum age for
Governor at twenty- one. But my arguments will also apply to the
minimum age for legislators.
There is no question in my mind that we need to address the age
issue for Governor. In all due respect to my colleagues in the
Legislature, I don’t believe Amendment H does that in a responsible
Most young people, although book smart and educated by the time they
turn twenty-one, still require a period of years to mature mentally,
emotionally, morally and socially. The argument that an eighteen
year old may vote and may join the military or that a twenty-one
year old may buy alcoholic beverages is not a valid argument. These
arguments make for interesting comparisons, but it appears that we
are comparing apples to oranges. When joining the military we serve
in a regimented environment where leaders prepare a plan of the day
and control our every move. When elected Governor you become the
leader and the demands of that office requires experience and wisdom
beyond twenty-one years.
At twenty-one we are normally completing our formal education and
going into the workplace where we will learn by experience and by
facing adversities that make us grow in wisdom. The office of
Governor and representing the citizens of South Dakota in the
Legislature is not the proper setting to gain that experience and
It is for the above reasons that I urge a NO vote on Constitutional
Submitted by: Rep. Mike Broderick, 902 E. Lynn Ave., Canton, SD
57013. Rep. Broderick represents legislative district 16.