The Legislature will be asked to strengthen South Dakota’s election laws regarding candidate-petition signatures, which made headlines several times last year. One major change calls for signatures to be spot-checked on candidate petitions for statewide offices, similar to the process already used for statewide ballot measures. On Monday, the state Board of Elections and Secretary of State Shantel Krebs endorsed the proposal. They plan to submit legislation for consideration in the 2015 session that opens Jan. 13. Their proposal calls for checking the validity of a random sample of 5 percent of the signatures on a petition. A would-be candidate found to have insufficient valid signatures after the spot check could appeal that adverse finding to circuit court.
Currently the secretary of state doesn’t have authority to check whether the signatures come from actual registered voters from the counties they show on the petitions.
Petition challenges instead have come from citizens to be decided in circuit courts and sometimes result in criminal charges from the state attorney general.
Several sets of petitions came under scrutiny in South Dakota’s U.S. Senate contest last year.
Full Article: Legislature to consider tightening election laws.