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South Dakotans for a
NonPartisan democracy

What does this initiative do?

Our initiative will change South Dakota elections from its current partisan system to a nonpartisan, top two system, where legislative and statewide candidates run as individuals in a nonpartisan primary, and the top two finishers face off in the general election, regardless of their party registration. It is model on the same imitative that passed in Nebraska 80 years ago, and is the only nonpartisan legislature in the country; it's proven both very effective and very popular there.

Why is this initiative needed?

It's clear that our current system of partisan politics is no longer working, either in our state or nation, and nonpartisanship represents a much more effective model. Here's a good example of how partisan politics isn't working in the state: according to the Mitchell Daily Republic, South Dakota lost over $100 million in fee income because of mismanagement of the EB-5, "cash for visas" scandal, and there is little doubt that the cause was the of checks and balances inherent in one-party rule. Changing the South Dakota Legislature from a partisan body, where party bosses call the shots, to a nonpartisan body, where political party is largely irrelevant and where legislators of both parties work together cooperatively, makes perfect sense.

Attorney General's Statement


An initiated amendment to the South Dakota Constitution establishing nonpartisan elections.


Currently, most general election candidates for federal, state and county offices are selected through a partisan primary or at a state party convention. This Constitutional amendment eliminates those methods by establishing a nonpartisan primary to select candidates for all federal, state, and county elected offices. This amendment does not apply to elections for United States President and vice President.

Under the amendment, candidates are not identified by party affiliation on the primary or general election ballot. All qualified voters, regardless of party affiliation, may vote for any candidate of their choice.

The two candidates with the most votes advance to the general election. For certain offices where more than one candidate is elected at the general election, the number of candidates advancing to the general election will be double the number of seats to be filled.

If the amendment is approved, a substantial re-write of state election laws will be necessary.

For more information:
PO Box 2057, Sioux Falls, SD 57101

South Dakotans for a
NonPartisan democracy