Gant: Effort was made to get con statements
South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant responded Friday to allegations from a state senator that Gant improperly excluded con statements from this year's statewide ballot questions pamphlet.
In a prepared statement, Gant said he sent more than 50 letters July 9 to potential authors of pro and con statements for the pamphlet. By July 31, he was still missing statements, he said, so he posted notices on his office's website sdsos.gov via Facebook and Twitter.
After those attempts, Gant said, he did not receive any con statements for the four constitutional amendments. Previously printed without a con statement, he noted, were Constitutional Amendment H in 2008 and Constitutional Amendments B and C in 2002.
He was successful in receiving pro statements for each of this year's amendments, as well as receiving pro and con statements for both of this year's referred laws and the initiated measure.
Gant's office printed 25,000 ballot question pamphlets and distributed them across the state on paper as well as on the sdsos.gov website in PDF, audio and digital book formats.
The 2012 pamphlet was published online Aug. 23 and distributed to county auditors beginning Aug. 30. In addition, there are braille and large-print copies available.
Wednesday, Gant, himself an elected official and Republican, received a con statement on Amendment P from state Sen. Stan Adelstein, R-Rapid City.
"With absentee voting already under way since Sept. 21, it was imperative to have the pamphlets printed and distributed prior to that date, and for this reason, Senator Adelstein's con statement will not be published," Gant said.
Adelstein has pushed for Gant's resignation over the ballot question pamphlet and other issues. On Wednesday, Adelstein asked -- he actually used the word "demand" -- Gant to alter the pamphlet. The senator emailed a letter to Gant and also had a printed copy sent to him.
In the letter, Adelstein said Gant did not list opposing views to the four constitutional amendments on the Nov. 6 ballot in the pamphlet, as Adelstein claimed is required by state law.
Adelstein also wrote an opposing view to Constitutional Amendment P, which calls for a balanced state budget, which he said should be included in a new pamphlet.
He said the proposed amendment "really weakens" the state constitution's existing mandate for a balanced budget. Adelstein wants his opposing view printed in the pamphlet, and said Gant should seek out opposing views for the other three amendments as well.