Join The Conversation

Chiesman Center for Democracy heads up
"Join The Conversation Campaign"

Join The Conversation is a joint collaboration campaign between the Chiesman Center for Democracy and Media One.  The campaign focuses on encouraging citizens to be actively engaged in the democratic process by learning more about potential initiated measures – helping to move the conversation forward.

www.jointheconversationsd.org

FAQ

How is the campaign being conducted?

The “Join The Conversation” campaign is being conducted using primarily web and social media methods.  A 60 second informational video (possible public service announcement) has been produced so far along with peripheral print materials.  In addition, radio public service announcements are also planned for development.  It is anticipated that the campaign will change focus upon the start of the 2018 South Dakota Legislative Session, to that of engaging the public with their elected legislators.

Why is the Chiesman Center for Democracy involved in this campaign?

Citizen engagement and civic education are key elements found in the organization’s mission statement.  The Chiesman Center for Democracy believes that all South Dakotans have a right to participate in direct democracy – it’s been that way since 1898.  In addition, as a source for non-partisan information concerning the democratic process, the Chiesman Center for Democracy should play a role in encouraging active civic engagement.

Does this campaign advocate for a specific ballot measure?

NO.  The campaign focuses on encouraging the public to become informed and engaged.

Why are you advocating for more ballot measures, we already have too many on the ballot?

We are not advocating for more or less ballot measures we are, however, encouraging more information, dialogue and conversations concerning the issues being brought forth.

The Democrat party is who keeps bringing all these ballot measures, why are you supporting them?

For nearly 120 years, both parties along with independents have brought forth issues to be placed on the November ballot.  The Chiesman Center is a non-partisan organization.

Shouldn’t people read the petition first before they sign?

ABSOLUTELY!  Registered voters should read, ask questions and talk with petition gatherers concerning the petition they are signing.  Voters should also ask and receive additional information from the petition gatherer, such as the ballot measure language, etc.

How many signatures are needed for an initiated measure to be placed on the November ballot?

13,871 valid signatures from registered South Dakota voters for initiated measures (5% of the last vote for Governor).  However, petition gatherers usually try to get double the amount (27,000+) in order to account for invalid signatures.

How many signatures are needed for an initiated constitutional amendment to be placed on the November ballot?

Since it is a potential change to the state’s constitution, the signature requirement is 27,741 valid signatures from registered South Dakota voters (10% of the last vote for Governor).  Again, petition gatherers usually try to get double the amount (50,000+) in order to account for invalid signatures.

It’s too easy to get signatures to place a measure on the ballot.

Most ballot measure committees and volunteers say otherwise.  Some petition gatherers are lucky to get 20-30 signatures in a full day.  Ballot measure committees must start nearly two years before the November general election to move their measure through the Legislative Research Center, then the Attorney General and then the Secretary of State’s office before they can gather any signatures.

How is Media One involved with this campaign?

Media One is donating its creative and production services to Chiesman, to assist with the Center’s message of citizen involvement and engagement.

Where/how did you get the information concerning the number of voters disapproving of the legislature and its work?

A survey of 665 South Dakota voters was conducted by Public Policy Polling on April 24th and 24th of 2017.  The survey asked voters their opinion of the South Dakota State Legislature.  (Do you Approve or Disapprove of the job the SD Legislature is doing?)  Those polled indicated that 53% disapproved of the legislature’s work, 28% approved and 19% were not sure. 

Why is the Chiesman Center for Democracy attacking the South Dakota Legislature?

The Chiesman Center for Democracy is not attacking the South Dakota Legislature.  The polling information is provided as a contextual base for further discussion and action.  The poll shows that South Dakota voters are concerned about their state government.  The Chiesman Center for Democracy is very grateful for the commitment and hard work our legislators provide to our state and would never state otherwise.

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