Signatures submitted for ‘top two’ primary election in South Dakota

Supporters of a “top two” primary election system in South Dakota submitted petitions with 47,000 signatures Monday to put their measure on the November ballot.

Their proposal is for a constitutional amendment to replace South Dakota’s current partisan primary with an open one for all voters and candidates. Under South Dakota’s current primary election system, candidates in gubernatorial, congressional, legislative and county races compete in a partisan primary. The measure would allow all candidates to compete against each other in one primary, and the top two vote-getters in each race or for each seat would advance to the general election. A similar measure failed in 2016.

Republicans dominate politics in South Dakota, where Democrats haven’t won a statewide election since 2008.

Measure backers need 35,017 valid signatures to make the ballot this fall.

South Dakota’s Republican Party opposes the measure. The Democratic Party hasn’t taken a stance on it.


May 7, 2024