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If there is an issue that you think should become a law, you don’t have to wait until your state legislature agrees with you. You can let the voters decide by filing a ballot initiative. Your direct action can qualify your measure to be on the ballot in the next statewide election.

Last updated on: September 15, 2020

The following is a brief overview of the South Dakota Ballot Initiative process. Please visit the Secretary of State’s website for further information.

South Dakota was the first state to authorize statewide Initiative and Referendum Rights. Individuals registered to vote in the State of South Dakota can propose and enact laws through initiatives. 

Submitting a Ballot Initiative 

Designate at least one person to be the sponsor and point of contact for the initiative. You must submit a written copy of the proposed initiative that will be circulating for the petition to the Director of the Legislative Research Council.

Within 15 days you will receive a written response with any suggested changes for updates. Once your initiative is complete and the final draft is ready, you must submit a final copy to the Attorney General and the Director of the Legislative Research Council.

Within 60 days the Attorney General will file the initiative summary and title with the Secretary of State. Sponsors should receive a copy of this filing.

Ballot Initiative Petition

You must submit the following items to the Secretary of State for approval before circulating your petition.

An original petition form, copy of fiscal note (provided by the Legislative Research Council), finance statement, a notarized form containing the sponsor(s) name and address, and a circulator handout that follows the guidelines provided by the Secretary of State.

When sponsors receive final approval petition circulation may begin. For up to date information regarding signature requirements check the Secretary of State’s website

Getting on the Ballot in South Dakota

Once your petition receives the necessary amount of valid signatures, you’ll need to the Secretary of State. Submissions must be received one year prior to the next general election. 
For more detailed information for sponsors, dates, petitions, and requirements visit the guidelines put together by the Secretary of State.

If you are interested in filing a ballot initiative in South Dakota, get in contact with us today.