The South Dakota Association of Cooperatives and the South Dakota Farm Bureau are urging South Dakota voters to reject proposed Constitutional Amendment T on the November ballot. If passed, this amendment would remove 105 elected representatives from the legislative redistricting process and place it in the hands of nine unelected individuals.
“The current system of drawing legislative districts has served South Dakota well,” said Brenda Forman, executive director of the SD Association of Cooperatives. “The rules in our State and Federal Constitutions, along with various laws and court decisions, dictate what legislative districts are to look like. We think that the 105 people elected to represent us are in a far better position to do what is best for South Dakota, rather than nine people appointed by the Board of Elections, which in itself is an appointed board.”
“Having watched previous redistricting efforts by the legislature, it is clear that our elected legislators – both Republican and Democrat – have worked hard to be fair to all the voters in the State,” said Scott VanderWal, president of the SD Farm Bureau. “To place this responsibility in the hands of nine unelected individuals would diminish the idea of a representative democracy and would not serve South Dakotans.”
The two groups point out that under the current system, the 2011 redistricting maps developed by the Legislature reduced the number of divided rural counties from seven to three. “The effort to keep rural counties as whole as possible makes sense for voters and for those elected to represent us in Pierre,” said Mike Held, lobbyist for the SD Farm Bureau.