Ballot access in South Dakota, which had been one of the toughest in the nation, was made easier, as Governor Daugaard signed bill HB 1034 on March 13 to allow political parties to retain party status with any statewide office candidate getting at least 2.5% in a general election race.
Previously, the only way for a political party to stay on the ballot was for the party’s candidate for Governor to get 2.5% in a general election race. The LP of South Dakota accomplished that once in its history, in 1994 with Nathan Barton as the gubernatorial candidate. The only other minor party to get 2.5% in a gubernatorial race was the Farm-Labor Party in 1926.
Further, to get on the ballot as a gubernatorial or federal candidate, one must collect at least 250 signatures from registered party voters between January 1 and the last Tuesday in March of the election year. Other statewide offices are nominated by convention.
Political parties will now have to meet the threshold every two years instead of every four, as it was prior to the new law, but it will be easier to stay on the ballot, as there are several statewide offices on the ballot each general election. In 2016, LP Presidential candidate Gary Johnson got over 5% in South Dakota.
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