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IN OTHER WORDS: Republicans are bucking the party

There are nearly a dozen initiated measures on this November's ballot. We joined the Vote Yes on V Campaign and view it as the single most important measure because it deals with the most fundamental principle of American democracy -- one person,...

There are nearly a dozen initiated measures on this November’s ballot. We joined the Vote Yes on V Campaign and view it as the single most important measure because it deals with the most fundamental principle of American democracy - one person, one vote.

  Fifty-one years after President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, millions of Americans still struggle to secure access to the polls. Another struggle, which hasn’t received nearly enough attention, is the plight of America’s independent voters.

  Over 32 million Americans were locked out of the Presidential primaries because they refused to join the two major parties. Here in South Dakota, 115,000 South Dakotans were prohibited from fully participating in the primary elections which ended up electing more than half the legislators who will represent us in Pierre this February.

  These shut-out South Dakotans included teachers, police officers, firefighters, truck drivers and members of the military who’ve risked their lives to defend the fundamental freedoms that make America the most envied country in the world.

  Now, a small group of establishment politicians are trying to claim that all Republicans oppose Amendment V.

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  Nothing could be further from the truth.

  As committed Republicans we recognize that a majority of young people in our country register as independents. We believe nurturing young people and restoring their faith in elected officials is critical to the long-term success of American democracy.

  How would Amendment V work? It is very simple. It makes all of our elections Nonpartisan. Have you ever voted for mayor, judge, or school board? It’s the same thing. All the candidates appear on a single ballot. All the voters can just vote for who they want. The two candidates with the most votes go on to a runoff style election in November. Again, just like School Board or Judge. The candidates’ political party will not appear next to their name on the ballot. The establishment group that opposes Amendment V is making a big deal about this issue. What they aren’t telling you is that candidate party affiliation will still be publicly available information that the media, the candidates, the parties or the opposing candidate(s) can publicize to their heart’s content. What it really represents is that the establishment will say anything to keep their power, including continuing to disenfranchise 115,000 independent voters. South Dakota has a history of leading voter rebellions against the establishment. In fact, we were the first state in the country to allow voter-initiated measures to fix problems elected officials were unable to address. Our combination of western individualism and principled pragmatism has served our state exceptionally well. It’s time for South Dakota to lead once again, to send a message to Washington DC that voters have had enough. Please join us and stand up for individual freedom and help us strengthen democracy by voting Yes on Amendment V - for the voters.

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