After the Huron rain, between snack breaks (I haven’t had a corn dog yet, but Kevin let me eat some of his fries), secret whispers with my fellow revolutionaries (and one gun nut who says he goes down to Arizona each year to use his AR-15 to control invasive species), and a shoe break to Potter’s Shoes, where the ever-attentive Susan Fullerton finally separated me from my money and put some nice red Merrells on my feet, I spent a little time at the State Fair yesterday circulating the two hardest-to-explain petitions on the street:
- The People Power Petition, in which I invite the voters of South Dakota to read and repeal or revise eleven sections of election law to remove the delays, bureaucracy, and paperwork that the Legislature has recently enact to kill the initiative and referendum process and throttle South Dakotans’ constitutional right to direct democracy (I invite you to think up a shorter midway pitch); and
- The redistricting petition, in which former legislator Dan Ahlers invites the voters to eliminate gerrymandering (stop right there: try explaining that term to person next to you in under fifteen seconds) by stripping his former colleagues in Pierre of their map-rigging power and empaneling five people to draw the map under strict constitutional, non-partisan, non-person rules.
I collected about 115 signatures on each election-nerd petition. Some allies around the fairgrounds collected more. And while I didn’t have it in my hands, I directed many of my signers to speak to my friends with New Approach SD (who helped direct my war-Beetle through the mud to share their campsite out in the restful west shelterbelt last night) who are petitioning to let your doctor prescribe you medical cannabis without a second opinion from our Governor, who lacks a medical degree to qualify her to pronounce on the issue.
One person who understood and signed all three petitions was South Dakota Treasurer Josh Haeder. He sat down in the SD Voice/New Approach booth, asked well-informed questions about the ballot question petition process and the proposed reformed redistricting commission. He was ready to sign the medical cannabis petition without any urging; he needed a little extra persuading on the anti-gerrymandering petition, just because he was curious about how exactly the new commission would be chosen and restricted from drawing partisan Legislative district boundaries, but I think I won him over by pointing out that he could sign the petition to put the matter to a vote and let the whole state discuss and decide the matter. “I’m all about the people,” said Treasurer Haeder as a her flourished his pen one more time.
I’m back at the Fair today, watching the clouds clear out and the crowds come in. I’ll be circulating, and if you’re here, I hope you’ll be signing.
I did see Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg patrolling the grounds this morning at breakfast time. Maybe he’ll swing by to check circulator IDs… but I suspect that, as he is involved in federal litigation concerning South Dakota’s oppression of petitioners and voters with its draconian and unconstitutional overregulation of the initiative and referendum process, he’ll probably refrain from from creating a conflict of interest by signing any petitions today.