CHAPTER 16

(SB 2)

Initiative and referendum petition signature verification process.


         ENTITLED, An Act to  establish certain procedures regarding the verification of initiative and referendum signatures.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA:

     Section  1.  That chapter 2-1 be amended by adding thereto a NEW SECTION to read as follows:

     Upon the receiving of any initiative petition, referred law petition, or initiated constitutional amendment petition, the secretary of state shall examine the petition. No signature of a person may be counted by the secretary of state unless the person is a registered voter in the county indicated on the signature line. No signature of a person may be counted if the information required on the petition form is not complete.

     Section  2.  That chapter 2-1 be amended by adding thereto a NEW SECTION to read as follows:

     The secretary of state shall verify the signatures pursuant to section 1 of this Act by random sampling. The random sample of signatures to be verified shall be drawn so that every signature received by the secretary of state shall be given an equal opportunity to be included in the sample. The secretary of state shall calculate the number of valid signatures by multiplying the total number of signatures received by the percentage of successfully verified signatures from the random sample. The secretary of state shall, by rules promulgated pursuant to chapter 1-26, establish the methodology for conducting the random sample. The random sampling shall be an examination of five percent of the signatures received.

     Section  3.  That chapter 2-1 be amended by adding thereto a NEW SECTION to read as follows:

     If the random sample indicates that a sufficient number of qualified electors have signed the petition, the secretary of state shall certify that the petition has been signed by the required number of qualified electors and shall place the proposed measure or amendment on the next general election ballot. If the random sample indicates that an insufficient number of qualified electors have signed the petition, the secretary of state shall certify that the petition has not been signed by the required number of qualified electors and may not place the proposed measure or amendment on the next general election ballot. The secretary of state shall, within five days of certifying, notify the petition sponsors of the secretary of state's action pursuant to this section.

     Section  4.  That chapter 2-1 be amended by adding thereto a NEW SECTION to read as follows:

     Nothing in this Act prohibits any person from challenging in circuit court the validity of signatures or other information required on a petition by statute or administrative rule.

     Signed March 20, 2007
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