POINT | All party voters should get say in nominees
Guest column by Rep. Tyler Tordsen
In the spirit of democracy, South Dakota has an opportunity to elevate the voices of its citizens through a proposal that would reshape the process of selecting statewide officials. At the heart of this resolution lies a simple yet powerful principle: putting the voters first.
The current method of allowing a small group of people at a partisan convention to determine the candidates for the offices of Secretary of State, Attorney General, Treasurer, Auditor, Public Utility Commissioner and Commissioner of School and Public Lands seems antiquated in comparison to the broader democratic processes already in place for other positions. South Dakota already entrusts the selection of its candidates for Governor, U.S. Senators, U.S. House Representative, county officials and legislators to the people.
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It's time to extend this democratic approach to all statewide offices. By supporting this effort, South Dakota can reaffirm its commitment to a government of, by, and for the people. In my opinion, these statewide offices are too important to only let a couple hundred people decide. This proposal would allow all registered voters in their party to decide. Our constituents deserve a say.
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It’s important to note this proposal is not a mandate but rather a question posed to South Dakota voters on the November 2024 ballot. House Joint Resolution 5001 proposes a straightforward mechanism: any statewide race with two or more candidates from the same party would be nominated through a partisan primary election. This approach also differs from the Open “Jungle” Primaries concept of California, and instead ensures a tailored solution that fits South Dakota. Election year after election year, people are discouraged in June to see their ballots limited and instead finding these statewide offices of importance are nominated by a small group.
We should let the voters make the decision who should go on to represent them and their party in the general election. Thoughtfully picking the candidate who best reflects the party’s true values and the values of the people. HJR 5001 keeps the spirit of South Dakota’s motto, “Under God the People Rule,” and aligns with our state’s fundamental values of empowering the electorate.
HJR 5001, if passed by your elected legislators, would pose this crucial question to South Dakotans on this November’s ballot. For me, that vote is a simple one; let the voters decide if the voters should decide.
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