Signature requirements & general ballot question information
Initiated Measure: This is a petition to add to, amend, or repeal existing
state statutes. Initiative petitions must be filed in the office of the
Secretary of State one year before general election year (SDCL
2-1-1.2). The petition must have signatures of registered voters equal to five
percent (13,871) of the total vote for governor in the last gubernatorial
election. No signatures may be obtained more than 24 months preceding the
election date designated on the petition.
Referred Law: This is a petition to prevent a measure passed by the
Legislature from becoming effective. It must have signatures of registered
voters equal to five percent (13,871) of the total vote for governor in the last
gubernatorial election and must be filed within 90 days of adjournment of the
legislative session in which the measure was passed (SDCL
2-1-3.1). Measures which may be necessary for the immediate preservation of
the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its
existing public institutions are not subject to referendum (SD
Const., Art. III, Sec. 1).
Initiated Constitutional Amendment: This is a petition proposing to amend,
repeal, or add to provisions in the South Dakota state constitution. The
petition must have signatures of registered voters equal to ten percent (27,741)
of the total vote for governor in the last gubernatorial election and must be
filed in the Secretary of State's office one year before the general election (SD
Const., Art. XXIII, Sec. 1). No signatures may be obtained more than 24
months preceding the election date designated on the petition.
The sponsors of any initiated measure or constitutional amendment must submit that text to the director of the legislative research council who will within 15 days provide written comments on the measure to the sponsors and the Secretary of State. The comments must be received by the secretary of state prior to filing the measure's full text (SDCL 12-13-25 & 26).
Following receipt of the written comments, the sponsors shall submit the final language to the attorney general who will prepare a title and explanation within sixty days. (SDCL 12-13-25.1)
The full text of any Initiated Measure or Initiated Constitutional Amendment petition to be circulated, the title and explanation as provided by the attorney general, the date of the general election at which the question is to be submitted, a notarized form that includes the names and addresses of the petition sponsors, and statement of organization as provided in SDCL 2-1-1.2 shall be filed with the Secretary of State prior to circulation for signatures. No signatures obtained before that filing date will be counted. Ballot question petitions and information will be posted on the Secretary of State's website once we receive the petition with the title and ballot language, the notarized form listing the sponsors names and addresses and a statement of organization.
Petition circulators must provide to each signer a copy of the title and explanation provided by the attorney general, the name, phone number and email address of each petition sponsor; and a statement whether the petition circulator is a volunteer or paid petition circulator and, if a paid circulator, the amount the circulator is being paid. The form shall be approved by the Secretary of State prior to circulation.
All sections of any completed ballot question petition shall be filed simultaneously together with a sworn affidavit prescribed by the State Board of Elections signed by two-thirds of the sponsors.
One year prior to the next General Election is the deadline for filing constitutional amendment or initiated measure petitions. General Elections are held on the first Tuesday after the First Monday in November of each even-numbered year.