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Challenging a Petition (excluding ballot question petitions)

12-1-13. Challenge to petition signatures or declaration of candidacy. Within five business days after a nominating, initiative, or referendum petition, excluding petitions for statewide initiative, referendum, or constitutional initiative petitions, is validated and filed with the person in charge of the election, any interested person who has researched the signatures contained on the petition or, for a nominating petition, has researched the information contained in the declaration of candidacy, may submit an affidavit stating that the petition contains deficiencies as to the number of signatures of persons who are eligible to sign the petition or that the declaration of candidacy is not valid. The affidavit shall include an itemized listing of the specific deficiencies 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 or petition sheets not included in the random sample. This subdivision applies only to petitions for statewide candidates, new party formation petitions, or to local jurisdictions that conduct random sampling; and

(6) Petition that was originally rejected.

All challenges by the same person or party in interest shall be included in one affidavit.

The original signed affidavit shall be received by the person in charge of that election by 5:00 p.m. local time on the deadline date. If the affidavit challenges any item that is prohibited by this section, only that line item shall be summarily rejected.

The decision of the secretary of state or the person in charge of the election regarding a challenge under this section may not be challenged a second time with the secretary of state or the person in charge of the election, but may be appealed to the circuit court. Any challenge with the secretary of state may be appealed in Hughes County. An appeal challenging a nominating petition for a primary election, takes precedence over other cases in circuit court. Any party appealing the circuit court order to the Supreme Court shall file a notice of appeal within ten days of the date of the notice of the entry of the circuit court order.

A failure to challenge a petition in accordance with this section does not deny a person any other legal remedy to challenge the filing of a nominating, initiative, or referendum petition in circuit court. A challenge to a petition in circuit court may include items prohibited in this section.

12-1-14. Verification of petition signatures or declaration of candidacy--Written declaration as to validity. The person in charge of the election shall verify the information contained in the affidavit submitted in accordance with 12-1-13 and make a written declaration regarding the validity of the signatures in question or, for a nominating petition, of the declaration of candidacy. The person in charge of the election shall verify that each person, challenged under 12-1-13, was a registered voter at the time the person signed the petition by using the registration documents on file or, for a nominating petition, that the candidate was a resident of the district at the time the declaration of candidacy was signed, in accordance with 12-6-3.1, and is a registered voter with a party affiliation in accordance with 12-6-3.2.

12-6-3.1. Legislative candidates required to reside in district of candidacy. Any candidate for office in the State Legislature shall be a resident of the district for which he is a candidate at the time he signs his declaration of candidacy as required by this chapter.

12-6-3.2. Candidate required to register with party. No person may sign a declaration of candidacy or be nominated as a political candidate for a party unless that person is a registered voter with that party affiliation.