As of now political candidates who run for a variety of offices in South Dakota are allowed to identify party affiliations. An effort is underway to remove those labels and open up the primary to all voters.

Will Mortenson of Fort Pierre is part of a group trying to stop Constitutional Amendment V and feels the measure would be a cloaking device.

“The thing that I object to most is that it’s an anti-transparent measure. It really does take (away) information that the voters have a right (to know). When a politician wants to put his name on the ballot, the voters have a right to know what party they affiliate with. Amendment V would take that information away from the voters.”

Another pitfall according to Mortenson is the little guy gets crushed in the primary with no shot in the general election.

“These open primaries they really cut out a lot of opportunities for Independents, Green Party, Constitution Party and Libertarians who currently have direct access to the general election ballot. They can get their petitions signed and get right on to the general election ballot in November. That avenue will taken away from those folks.”

Such systems are already in place in California and Nebraska, but Mortenson says the South Dakota version goes significantly further than any other in the nation.

Amendment V is among ten ballot issues that will be decided in the November general election. For a view of what the supporters say about the effort click here.


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