Category Archives: 2012 Ballot

Joint Appropriations has a second meeting on Mon Feb 8, Governors sales tax increase bill

3d person decide problemOn Monday, February 8, at 3:00 pm (or 15 mins after session presumably) the SD Joint Committee on Appropriations committee will take on 1 bill. This is compiled using the agenda at the time of composing this post. Agendas can and do change!

One way to listen to these meetings live is via the audio links on the Schedule page of the LRC website. While there you can also view the status board for the meetings as they are going on.

HB 1182 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Increase the state sales tax, the state use tax, the excise tax on farm machinery, and amusement device tax for the purpose of increasing education funding and reducing property taxes, and to declare an emergency.

SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Committee on Appropriations is the prime sponsor at the request of the Office of the Governor.

This of course is the sales tax increase Governor Daugaard is asking for in response to the Blue Ribbon Task Force. Basically it changes the current 4% state sales tax to 4.5%.

I personally think this is a bad proposal. There are other ways to increase teacher pay without increasing taxes. Testimony will need to be listened to on this bill.

How my votes aligned with the results

Since I’ve taken quite an interesting this election I thought it would be good to see how close my votes were to the actual results. I am using the Secretary of State Election Results Page to grade myself on this.

Presidential Race:

For this race I voted for Libertarian Gary Johnson. However being realistic I really thought Mitt Romney would win. And yes, South Dakota gave its few electoral votes to Romney. Obama winning should wake up the Republican party. Maybe running someone against Obama that has almost the exact same policies was a bad idea!

United States Representative:
Kristi Noem (R) – 57.45%    |     Matt Varilek (D) – 42.55%

For this race I voted for Democrat Matt Varilek. Even though I disagree with his stances I just couldn’t vote for Noem, she is almost the perfect example of someone who shouldn’t be in politics. However, having said that I thought Noem would win all along. She has the R behind her name, she has the ‘hot farm-wife’ thing going on, and she has had a LOT of facetime with South Dakotan’s the last two years (instead of doing things like doing her job). I really am surprised the race was not closer though. I figured Noem would win by 51% to 49%. Oh well, hopefully someone does better in a couple of years.

Public Utilities Commissioner:
Kristie Fiegen (R) – 53.92%    |    Matt McGovern (D) – 40.41%    |    Russel Clarke (L) – 5.67%

I voted for Russel Clarke, as a support for a fellow Libertarian. However I thought the race would be tight between Fiegen and McGovern. All I can think is the attack against McGovern for changing his name worked. Or Fiegen having the R had more impact in this race than I thought it would.

Chris Nelson (R) – 67.03%    |    Nick Nemec (D) – 32.97%

This second PUC race was no surprise. Actually I thought Chris Nelson would get over 75% of the votes.

Referred Law 14 – Large Project Development Fund: NO 57.63%

I voted no on this and am not surprised it lost. Giving the governor’s office free reign to corporate welfare to hand out is just bad policy.

Referred Law 16 – Random Misguided Education Changes: NO 67.23%

I voted no and have been against this RL since I first read it. It is so random that it just had to fail.

Initiated Measure 15 – 1% Sales Tax Increase: NO 56.72%

I voted no and have been opposed to the large tax increase this represents. However I am surprised it was not a more overwhelming vote for no.

Constitutional Amendment M – Update Constitutional Language for Corporations: NO 70.40%

No surprise this lost. I voted no because there was no ‘con’ was published and the language of this question was too vague for the average person to care about.

Constitutional Amendment N – Remove Travel Reimbursement Restrictions: NO 63.17%

I voted no because SoS Gant didn’t provide a con. However it probably lost because few understood what this issue is about. I seen someone say (maybe tweet) last night that next time they should change the language to “Have the legislatures get travel reimbursed the same way any government employee does”. That would probably have passed.

Constitutional Amendment O – Distributions from Cement Plant Trust Fund: YES 56..77%

I voted no because no con was provided by SoS Gant. However it is not surprising this won. At its face value this may be a good amendment.

Constitutional Amendment P – Balanced Budget: YES 64.60%

I voted no because no con was provided by SoS Gant. I knew this would win based purely upon its name. My only question, now that it has won will a legislature that was opposed to this and fought to get a con provided legally challenge this?

Supreme Court Retention – Justice Glen A. Severson: YES – 80.18%

voted against him because of the South Dakota Supreme Court refusing to hear an important Hutterite case based on freedom of religion. However since most people don’t care about this type of ballot issue I figured it would pass with no problem.

Overall I’ll give myself a C for calling this election. I called a lot of the ballot issues, but honestly those were easy to call. The part that surprised me was the legislative and other politician votes: I really underestimated just how RED South Dakota is. I think in other states candidates such as Varelik would have been a contender.

South Dakota final voter registration numbers before 2012 Election

South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant released the 2012 voter registration numbers as of November 5, 2012. I have included the Nov 1, 2011 numbers in the table below to see how things have changed in a year.

Republican Democrat Constitution Libertarian Other Independent
2011 Registrations 235180 189323 326 1022 643 87246
2011 Percentage 45.78% 36.85% 0.06% 0.20% 0.13% 16.98%
2012 Registrations 243113 189493 349 1126 598 93942
2012 Percentage 45.99% 35.85% 0.07% 0.21% 0.11% 17.77%

Overall the changes are not huge. But the Democratic Party appears to have added only 170 registered voters; while the Republican Party added 7,933 registered voters. Considering South Dakota is a “red” state these numbers are not surprising. However the number of voter registrations choosing “Independent” grew by 6,696. The number of registered independent voters almost matches the numbers added by the Republican Party.

Statistics for the ‘battleground states’ show that the Democratic Party is losing number like this to Independents. The battleground states are also losing ground in the Republican Party; but they are losing a tenth of the numbers the Democratic Party is losing.

Hopefully this trend continues. If enough of the country starts to identify as independent it gives me hope that third-party candidates will get more votes. All it takes is for people to realize that its better to vote for a real candidate you believe in; as opposed to the current ‘lesser of two evil’ approach taken by many now.

Final summary of my votes for South Dakota 2012 Ballot Questions

Previously I posted a summary of my votes for the South Dakota 2012 Ballot Questions. Since that time I have changed my mind on the four constitutional amendments (thanks to Gant) and added my opinion about the SD Supreme Court retention of Justice Glen A. Severson. It will be very easy for me when going to the polls this November 6, I will be voting NO on every yes/no question  Following is my votes for each of the questions and a link to my reason why:

All I can say is November 6 will be a “Just Say NO” day for me.


A Presidential Candidate Ad That Is Actually Against Attacking Iran

This is an ad that will be running for Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson:

Whats crazy to me is neither the Democratic or Republican candidates even campaign on peace.

My brief thoughts on the final Obama/Romney debate

From a libertarian point of view this was a bad debate. Looking at my notes (tweets) one comment sticks out: “I lost track, which of these two is the war-hawk?” It was clear neither was a candidate of peace. But I do think in the end Obama came off as a bigger war-hawk.

Other than that both candidates kept bringing the foreign policy debate back to domestic issues. I won’t even review my tweets on this one. Simply put this debate was a disaster for anyone that believe is liberty and peace. My final tweet sums it up best “I for one am glad I should never have to see Obama or Romney debate again!”

Told ya, brief! I’m too disgusted to say more.

South Dakota 2012 Ballot: Why I Will Vote NO to the Supreme Court Retention of Severson

In reviewing the ballot issues in South Dakota I finally decided to look at the SD Supreme Court retention of Justice Glen A. Severson representing the Second Supreme Court District. I will definitely vote NO on this retention and ask others to do the same. Why would I vote no? Simply because of one key case the SD Supreme Court decided to overrule the circuit court: Wipf v Hutterville Hutterian Brethren, Inc (PDF).

I won’t go into the very long story and facts behind this case. However the Supreme Court chose to accept and hide behind “freedom of religion” in a corporate case that has nothing to do with religion. This nut-less move by the justices has left many good people in a very bad position. Many good men and women waited patiently (even while still being persecuted) for justice to be served. Sadly this never happened. The SD Supreme Court decided persecution of people is OK if done in the name of religion, even if corporate laws are being broke.

I’ll stop there. I could keep going, but honestly it would take me a whole book to discuss this issue at the level it deserves. So, in summary I will vote no to the retention of Justice Glen A. Severson because of this final line in Wipf v Hutterville Hutterian Brethren, Inc:

[¶29.] GILBERTSON, Chief Justice, and ZINTER, SEVERSON, and WILBUR, Justices, concur.

A Stark Look at All 3 Presidential Candidates

The Libertarian Party has provided the following table to compare all three Presidential Candidates:

I really think this is worth looking at for anyone tired of both Obama and Romney. I won’t add much because I think the table speaks for itself.

South Dakota US House Race Leaves Me In a Tough Position

This last Thursday I decided to give both Kristi Noem and Matt Varilek an hour of my time and watched the debate on SDPB. The debate can still be watched on the SDPB election page. As a libertarian this debate has left me in a very tough position, and it is not just because there are no Libertarian candidates.

First lets look at Kristi Noem. I was not a resident of South Dakota when she was elected into the House (I lived in MN). However had I lived here at that time I would have likely have voted for Noem. This would have hinged purely upon her being part for the Tea Party movement. While I don’t agree with many Tea Party stances I was in support of one important part of this movement:  Government must be downsized. Kristi has done nothing in her term to show she believes this. There have been a lot of attacks on her for not showing up to committee meetings. Her reply is always “but look at my voting record”. Who gives a damn Kristi! If you’re not actually proactively getting the Tea Party message out in Congress then you are part of the problem. It is due this incompetence that I cannot see voting for Kristi.

Then there is Matt Varilek. I’ve talked to quite a few people who saw the debate and most would agree that Matt won (except those so party aligned they can’t look objectively). I thought Matt presented his platform very clearly and answered the questions in an honest way. That’s the problem I have with Matt: I disagree with him. I really do believe he is a good Democrat and will fight for his ideas. Looking at my tweets from then I remember Matt basically wanting to support clean energy industry (more than it already has been!). As someone who lives in Aberdeen I have seen what happens when the government supports an industry the market doesn’t want: a lot of people lose their job when the subsidies end! That leaves me in a rough place with Matt: even though I like and respect him, I don’t like his ideas.

So where does that leave me and a lot of other voters? Do I vote for the candidate I actually respect but disagree with? Or do I vote for the candidate I have no respect for? Matt would probably do a good job of no only listening to South Dakota voters, but try to fight for things (even if they are bad). And Kristi will continue to listen to South Dakota voters but do nothing. Right now I’m leaning Kristi because due to lack of action she will do less harm. I’m not sure though.

Gant Ordered By Judge to Publish Adelstein’s Con Comments About SD Constitutional Amendment P

Earlier this evening I noted that I was  changing all of my votes for the constitutional amendments on the 2012 South Dakota Ballot from Yes to No. This is because of SD Secretary of State Jason Gant’s incompetence and/or corruption. I just noticed a story published by The Daily Republic states that Adelstein won in court today. Because of decision made by the judge, Gant will have to provide Adelstein’s Con statements for amendment P. I see the comments have already been added to the online PDF version of the 2012 Ballot Questions Pro/Con Pamphlet. Now how hard would it have been to do that a month ago when Adelstein provided the con statement? The other three amendments still have empty con sections.

Now more than ever I agree with my earlier post and plan to vote NO on all four amendments simply to show Pierre incompetence and/or corruption will not be allowed. I can only hope most of the state agrees with me.

Gant is supposedly going to reprint and disseminate the new pamphlets. Just to get Adelstein’s con statement out to more I will post a copy of it below. I don’t know if I agree with Adelstein and don’t plan to research it. For now my vote on amendment P will stay NO out of pure principle.

Con – Constitutional Amendment P

Vote NO on this amendment that calls itself “A Balanced Budget
Amendment,” but which really weakens the Constitution’s
required “Balance” by overriding section 1, Article 11 of the
present Constitution. This Trojan Horse is proposed to allow
manipulation of data, by those who oppose any kind of taxes.

Sec 1 of Article 11 states specifically requires “ …And whenever
it shall appear that such ordinary expenses shall exceed the
income of the state for such year, the Legislature shall provide for
levying a tax for the ensuing year …”

This then means that the budget must absolutely be balanced and
if not, the Legislature MUST levy a tax, not might or maybe,
depending on “estimated” revenue or “existing funds.”

Amendment P relies on “… anticipated revenue and existing
funds …” We know that for fiscal 2011 the “anticipation”
understated revenues by $50 million dollars, causing unnecessary
cuts and hardship. It could have been as easily overstated –
except for the mandate of Article 11!

There is no definition of “existing funds,” and there was
continual debate during my ten years in the Legislature about
which funds could be used for what.

Article 11 is very clear when it requires “revenue” cannot exceed
“expenses!” We now have an effective Balanced Budget – not
something else offered to satisfy someone’s political ends.

Vote NO on Amendment P – keep the Constitution strong. Keep
the Balanced Budget by requiring that expenses CANNOT
exceed revenue. And if they do, there must be a tax (even if that
means someone will not be reelected).

Submitted by: Senator Stan Adelstein District 32 (former Vice
Chair House Appropriations) 1999 West Boulevard, Rapid City
SD 57701