Appeals court deals Noem, Legislature, defeat on petition case
Three-judge panel agrees that South Dakota law invaded privacy of those who gathered petitions for ballot measures
A court ruling suspending portions of a 2020 South Dakota law requiring petition circulators to publicly disclose personal information has been upheld by the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
A three-judge panel in an opinion issued Tuesday ruled that South Dakota’s U.S. District Court correctly ordered an injunction on Senate Bill 180, a measure adopted by the state Legislature in 2020 and signed by Gov. Kristi Noem that sought to add barriers to initiated measure and constitutional amendment circulators who use paid help to collect signatures.
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“Being forced to publicly disclose one’s phone number, email address, and residential address in order to exercise the right to circulate a petition—even as a paid circulator—is chilling in today’s world,” wrote Circuit Judge L. Steven Grasz. “The risks of public disclosure are heightened in the 21st century and seem to grow with each passing year, as anyone with access to a computer can compile a wealth of information about anyone else, including such sensitive details as a person’s home address or the school attended by his children.”