A federal judge ruled Thursday against the South Dakota Libertarian Party in an attempt to add its Public Utilities Commission candidate to the November general election ballot. U.S. District Judge Lawrence Piersol heard arguments and concluded Secretary of State Jason Gant followed state law last week in declaring Ryan Gaddy, of Sioux Falls, ineligible to run for the office because he didn’t change his party affiliation from Republican in time to be nominated at the Libertarian convention. “It seems to the court Secretary Gant had no alternative other than to deny the application,” Piersol said. He also deemed constitutional a state law requiring candidates to be members of the party that nominates them.
The ruling allows Gant to print ballots, which are required to be in county auditors’ offices by Sept. 17, two days before absentee voting starts.
“It’s unfortunate that his name won’t be on the ballot,” Gant said. “All he had to do was register to vote the day before and his name would have been on the ballot and South Dakotans would have had the opportunity to determine whether they wanted him as their next public utilities commissioner.”