Argus Editorial: Legislature Uncomfortable with Citizens Participating in Democracy

The Sioux Falls Argus Leader agrees that we need to protect South Dakota’s “storied tradition” of direct democracy from Legislative attack:

South Dakota’s storied tradition of citizen-led ballot measures is under fire, which we probably should have seen coming.

The state’s initiative and referendum process expanded nearly 50 years ago to include constitutional amendments, allowing the power of the petition to circumvent traditional political channels.

Such bursts of direct democracy make certain folks uncomfortable, most notably Republican power brokers in Pierre. Within the GOP-controlled executive branch and legislature, preserving a system in which policy is framed by representatives rather than pumped-up citizens is paramount [editorial, Sioux Falls Argus Leader, 2019.08.02].

The editorial says we citizens deserve more opportunities for citizens to learn about, debate, and vote on important issues:

Put simply, the digital age offers little excuse for ignorance on these issues, and political engagement on the part of average citizens makes a difference. It’s a reassuring concept in the face of traditional party gridlock that has rendered our system sluggish.

To portray South Dakota’s ballot initiative process as a bastion of pure democracy is a bit of a stretch. But in a state controlled by a single party, it’s too easy to silence opposing views and eschew constructive debate when there’s no policy-making alternative to Pierre’s power structure.

Allowing voices to be heard and arguing issues on their merits sounds more American than setting up road blocks along the way [SFAL, 2019.08.02].

SD Voice’s People Power Petition is all about removing roadblocks to making your voice heard. Put People Power over politician power. Make those selfish politicians uncomfortable: support our cause, circulate our petition, and defend your right to run your state!

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