South Dakota

South Dakota

You have full Initiative & Referendum rights. Citizens can pass laws they write or suspend a statute passed by the Legislature by collecting enough petition signatures to place the statute on the statewide ballot for a decision by the voters. Voters can also initiate constitutional amendments by Initiative.


See the results of a poll on support for statewide initiative & referendum here.

Grade: B

Click here to view South Dakota’s individual report in Of the People, By the People, For the People: A 2010 Report Card on Statewide Voter Initiative Rights.

State Balloting Process

How you can change South Dakota’s government through ballot initiatives


South Dakota, the first state to adopt initiative and referendum on a
statewide level, did so in 1898. The Direct Legislation Record for December
of that year gave credit for this achievement to the organizing efforts of
Walter E. Kidd of Brown County… Read More

Ballot Qualifications & Schedule

Date Initiative language can be submitted: Any time

Signatures are tied to vote of which office: Governor

Next gubernatorial election: 2010

Votes cast for governor in last election: 335,534

Net number of signatures required: For statutes, 5% of the total vote for
governor in the last gubernatorial election (16,776). For amendments, 10%.

Distribution Requirement: None.

Circulation period: 1 year.

Do circulators have to be residents: No.

Date when signatures are due for certification: For Statutes, April 7, 2009.
For Amendment, November 2, 2009.

Signature verification process: Each signature is verified until reaching the
minimum number of valid signatures needed to qualify an issue for the

Single-subject restriction: No.

Legislative tampering: Legislature can both repeal and amend statute

Excerpted from the Initiative & Referendum Almanac by M. Dane Waters.