Proposed initiative would open South Dakota primaries to all voters

A new group is pushing for a vote to open primaries to all South Dakotans.

The initiative would establish a top-two open primary for federal, state and county elections. In each race, all candidates would compete in a single primary open to all state voters. The two candidates that receive the most votes would advance to the general election.

Supporters say it could add 50,000 voters to South Dakota’s primary elections.

Watertown businessman Jason Pieper is with the group “South Dakota Open Primaries.” He says over two-thirds of all legislative races went uncontested in the last primary election and this measure will increase participation from those who don’t want to be forced into the extremes of either party. Supporters say it will allow those registered as Independents to have a voice in the process.

Their proposed initiative is currently under review by the South Dakota Attorney General and Secretary of State.


April 21, 2023