Home > SD 2014 Ballot, South Dakota > South Dakota Secretary of State Gant has made the case to replace him

South Dakota Secretary of State Gant has made the case to replace him

September 5, 2013

200px-SouthDakota-StateSeal.svgAs someone who believes in things like rule of law and ethics I have very few good things to say about the current South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant. This is not because I don’t like him (I don’t even know him). Rather it is because he has continuously shown himself to be part of the problem currently plaguing Pierre: a certain clique of Republicans in DC are running everything the way they see fit. Specifically there are two important duties and responsibilities of the Secretary of State I feel Gant has gone awry on. These two duties are as the head Notary Public and as the Chief Elections Officer.

First lets look briefly at the Notary Public duty. When Rep. Brian Gosch notarized his own nominating petition Gant chose to do nothing. Groups such as the National Notary Association (NNA) brought this case up as an ethical red-flag. The previous Secretary of State had (rightly) decided candidates could not notarize their own petition. By allowing this petition Gant reduced the credibility of the Notary Public system in South Dakota. SDCL 18-1-17 clearly states Notarial duties cannot be performed “in connection with any instrument which shows upon its face that he is a principal party thereto.” Gant’s failure to understand notary law in South Dakota gives one pause as to whether he is fit to carry the title Secretary of State.

Now lets look at an even bigger duty of the Secretary of State: Chief Elections Officer. Recently Cory Heidelberger published a post about Brooks v. Gant. In this post Cory provided a link to the Plaintiffs’ Objections and Exceptions to Defendants’ Bill of Costs. Here is the line from this document that sums up our current Chief Elections Officer:

Secretary Gant simply contended that it was not his responsibility to ensure elections run smoothly. (Id. at 92:3-5)

Really? Our current Chief Elections Officer contends it is not his responsibility to ensure elections run smoothly??? That is actually the primary goal of the Secretary of State in elections. Even the Secretary of State website says this about the Chief Elections Officer: “All statewide elections are directed from this office”. It is understandable that problems will arise during the election process. Nobody, even me, will fault Gant for issues arising that keep elections from running smoothly. However as the Chief Elections Officer it should be Gant’s primary goal to ensure elections run smoothly. This contention of non-responsibility from Gant is telling the voters of South Dakota he is the wrong person for this office. South Dakota voters deserve a Secretary of State that will work with every County Auditor across the state to ensure the election process is consistent for all voters. Working with County Auditors may not always be easy, but nobody said the Secretary of State position is supposed to be ‘easy’.

Due to a loss of credibility as the Notary Public officer and the Chief Elections Officer I believe that Gant is asking the voters of South Dakota to remove him as Secretary of State. I would also contend that that replacing Gant with another person from his clique would do nothing to restore credibility to the office. It is therefore imperative that South Dakota seeks out and elects a Secretary of State that is independent of the current power structure in South Dakota.

PS. Side-note. I was attending an online web-conference learning about e-notarizing earlier this year. After I said my name and the State I came from one of the attendees made this remark: “Oh, you come from the place where the Secretary of State doesn’t understand notary ethics.” Even people outside the state believe Gant is wrong for the job.

PPS. I am currently considering a run at SOS myself. However I must look at my financial situation in the next year first. I believe I am the best candidate and will go for the win if I do choose to enter the race. If I do not run I will seek and support a suitable replacement for Gant.

  1. September 5, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    Ken! What are you qualifications for the Secretary of State’s office? What relevant past work experience can you cite?

    • Ken Santema
      September 5, 2013 at 1:53 pm

      If/when I decide to actually run I’ll list qualifications relating to each area SOS is responsible for. But whether I run or not I will be looking critically in the coming months at Gant’s campaign promises and rating him on them. Of particular interest from his campaign website: “I will work diligently with all County Auditors across South Dakota to identify our strengths and weaknesses and create a best practices template for everyone to utilize.”

      What he said then was good. He basically said he would provide leadership and work with County Auditors. Now it seems he will work with County Auditors as long as it happens to be convenient to him and wants no responsibility for outcomes…

  2. September 5, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    So Ken, how does the possibility of the GOP running Krebs to replace Gant affect your consideration?

    • Ken Santema
      September 5, 2013 at 9:00 pm

      Not even sure if I have plans at this time.

  3. Stephanie Strong
    September 10, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    Impeach Secretary Gant-Secretary Gant needs to be impeached for his violation of his oath of office and the fraud he is involved in to keep covering up his malfeasance of duty. Indict him. If the legislators do not do their job as public servants, the same thing applies to them. If anyone is going against our common law God Given rights, this applies to them and we the people can remove them out of office.

    South Dakota State Constitution Article 3 section 8 states

    ” § 8. Oath required of legislators and officers–Forfeiture of office for false swearing. Members of the Legislature and officers thereof, before they enter upon their official duties, shall take and subscribe the following oath or affirmation: I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the state of South Dakota, and will faithfully discharge the duties of (senator, representative or officer) according to the best of my abilities, and that I have not knowingly or intentionally paid or contributed anything, or made any promise in the nature of a bribe, to directly or indirectly influence any vote at the election at which I was chosen to fill said office, and have not accepted, nor will I accept or receive directly or indirectly, any money, pass, or any other valuable thing, from any corporation, company or person, for any vote or influence I may give or withhold on any bill or resolution, or appropriation, or for any other official act.

    This oath shall be administered by a judge of the Supreme or circuit Court, or the presiding officer of either house, in the hall of the house to which the member or officer is elected, and the secretary of state shall record and file the oath subscribed by each member and officer.

    Any member or officer of the Legislature who shall refuse to take the oath herein prescribed shall forfeit his office.

    Any member or officer of the Legislature who shall be convicted of having sworn falsely to, or violated his said oath, shall forfeit his office and be disqualified thereafter from holding the office of senator or member of the house of representatives or any office within the gift of the Legislature.

    History: Repeal proposed by SL 1974, ch 1, rejected Nov. 5, 1974; repeal proposed by SL 1975, ch 2, as amended by SL 1976, ch 1, rejected Nov. 2, 1976.

    Article 3



    1. Power of impeachment in house–Majority required.
    2. Trial of impeachments–Presiding officer.
    3. Officers subject to impeachment–Grounds–Removal from office–Criminal prosecution.
    4. Removals of officers not subject to impeachment.
    5. Suspension of duties between impeachment and acquittal.
    6. Lieutenant governor not to try Governor.
    7. Service of copy of impeachment before trial required.
    8. Impeachment twice for same offense prohibited.

    Constitution “

  1. September 11, 2013 at 3:15 pm
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