A wide assortment of changes in South Dakota’s election laws received a unanimous recommendation Thursday by a legislative panel and, in normal circumstances, would have been placed on the consent calendar for routine approval today by the House of Representatives. But one piece of the package deals directly with the same topic as a lawsuit that targeted Secretary of State Jason Gant last year over the eligibility of House Speaker Brian Gosch to be a candidate for re-election. So Rep. Tim Rounds, R-Pierre, said House members should have the opportunity to talk about the measure, HB 1018. Rounds is chairman of the House Local Government Committee.
“When it’s been in the press in the (legislative) off-season, it’s a lightning rod,” Rounds explained about why he didn’t want it to be put by the committee on the consent calendar. No debate is allowed on consent calendar bills
Gant, who is South Dakota’s chief elections officer, testified to the committee. The legislation technically came from the state Board of Elections, on which Gant is the chairman. One of the proposed changes would specifically prohibit a candidate from notarizing the signature of a person gathering voters’ signatures on the candidate’s nomination petition.