In the midst of all the Senate retirement announcements this past week, one news item has received little national media coverage, but the implications of which are far reaching.
South Dakota has passed and the Governor has signed S.B. 69, a bill which prevents Democrats and Republicans from signing the nominating petitions of any Independent candidate. This was done just a few months after two Independent candidates, Gordon Howie, and Larry Pressler who I endorsed, took 20% of the vote in the state Senate election.
In a time when an overwhelming number of Americans are saying our government needs to change the way it behaves, South Dakota legislators have sent a very clear message with S.B. 69: They will eliminate dissent from within and competition from without. When Americans want greater choice and better alternatives, politicians are taking steps to become further entrenched, and prevent popular will from being heard.
Past the callous disregard for the democratic rights of members of their own parties, this is about politicians openly flaunting public opinion. This is indicative of our national challenge. Although this happened in South Dakota, this is a national issue.
For years, members of both parties have taken steps to eliminate competition. The most prominent strategy is gerrymandering, but most restrictions are passed quietly, by state legislatures that draw little public attention.
SB 69 was proposed by the State Board of Elections in South Dakota, which is supposed to control all changes to election law. The restrictions against signing nominating petitions were introduced in a committee, without consultation or approval from the independent board. They were introduced as amendments, eliminating words like "may not" to reverse the meaning of entire sentences. The weak attempts to justify these amendments without appearing politically corrupt add to a narrative that might leave the most diehard party loyalist scratching their head.
CLICK HERE to read more about this bill.
NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker Technorati Tag in Del.icio.us