Challenging a Statewide Ballot Question

The process to challenge a statewide initiated measure or referred measure is to submit an affidavit within 30 days after the petition has been filed with the Secretary of State's office.  Details for the affidavit can be found at SDCL 2-1-17.1.

Within thirty days after a statewide petition for an initiated constitutional amendment, initiated measure, or referendum has been validated and filed, any interested person who has researched the signatures contained on the petition may submit an affidavit to the Office of Secretary of State to challenge the petition. The affidavit shall include an itemized listing of each specific deficiency in question.

Any challenge to the following items is PROHIBITED under this challenge process:
(1) Signer does not live at address listed on the petition;
(2) Circulator does not live at address listed on the petition;
(3) Circulator listed a residence address in South Dakota but is not a South Dakota resident;
(4) Circulator did not witness the signers;
(5) Signatures not included in the random sample; and
(6) Petition that was originally rejected.

Any challenge by the same person or party in interest shall be included in one affidavit.

The original signed affidavit shall be received by the Office of Secretary of State by 5:00 p.m. central time on the deadline date. If the affidavit challenges any item that is prohibited by this section, only that line item shall summarily be rejected. A challenge to a line item is not a challenge to the petition as a whole.

The secretary of state's decision regarding a challenge may not be challenged a second time with the secretary of state, but may be appealed to the circuit court of Hughes County.

If a person fails to challenge a petition pursuant to this section, it does not deny that person any other legal remedy to challenge the filing of an initiative or referendum petition in circuit court. A challenge to a petition in circuit court MAY INCLUDE items prohibited in this section.