Home > SD 2014 Ballot, South Dakota > Independent Gubernatorial candidate Mike Myers not allowed to change running-mate

Independent Gubernatorial candidate Mike Myers not allowed to change running-mate

July 22, 2014
Mike Myers and Lora Hubbel at Presser in Sioux Falls. Photo from Mike Myers for Governor Facebook Page

Mike Myers and Lora Hubbel at Presser in Sioux Falls. Photo from Mike Myers for Governor Facebook Page

Over at Madville Times it has been reported by Cory Heidelberger that SD Secretary of State Jason Gant is not allowing Myers to change his running-mate on the ballot. This was a poor decision on Gants part. Originally Myers had Caitlin Collier chosen as his running-mate. But due to family issues Collier had to pull out of the race and Myers then chose Hubbel as her replacement. The letter to Hubbel from Gant can be read on Cory’s post. Basically it says because SD codified law does not allow for independent candidates to replace a Lieutenant Governor; therefore Collier has to stay on the ballot.

This was the wrong decision by Gant. Cory sums up my thoughts pretty good in his post:

I recognize the need for the secretary of state to be a stickler for rules, and Secretary Gant has demonstrated that he can be a stickler when he wants to be. But in this case, Secretary Gant is needlessly punishing Hubbel (a known bête noire among Gant’s Republican friends), Myers, and the voters. No votes have been cast. No ballots have been printed. No dispute exists over the practical facts of Collier’s withdrawal or Myers’s selection of Hubbel. No fraud has been committed by anyone in seeking to place Hubbel’s name on the ballot next to Myers’s, and no harm will be done to anyone by the stroke of the pen that would align the November ballot with reality.

According to SDCL §12-8-6, a party committee can fill vacancies that have occurred for a position that was previously nominated. The vacancy must be filled by the second Tuesday in August. There is no similar law for Independent candidates. As Gant interprets the situation Collier must stay on the ballot.

Here are the two steps I believe SOS Gant should have taken:

  1. Allowed the change of running-mate to happen. The reasoning would be for equal access to the ballot based upon 1st Amendment protections. Specifically “the right of the people…to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”. This portion of the Bill of Rights has been used in the past force election bodies into creating equal ballot access laws for all. It is also the path Gant should have chosen.
  2. Gant should then have proposed legislation for the 2015 session that would create a permanent fix in codified law. Even though Gant is gone at the end of this year, he still has some work to do. Actually he has a lot of work to do. During any downtime Gant should be reviewing the current election laws and guidelines to ensure equal access is given to the ballot by all candidates; whether or not they are part of a party.

Since Gant didn’t take the path it will now cost the state and Myers a lot of unnecessary money going to court. This from the Myers campaign on Facebook:

We’re going to take the state of South Dakota to court! We’re being treated unfairly in light of Caitlin’s personal matter. I’m not allowed to replace my running-mate, although the Democrat and Republican candidates would be able to if they were in the same situation. This is unfair and we’re going to challenge the constitutionality of Secretary Gant’s decision.

I agree with that statement completely. The Myers campaign was not asking for special treatment. They were asking for the same equal treatment that other candidates receive in the race. There isn’t much time for Myers to actually challenge Gant’s decision in court. Hopefully this situation will be used as the catalyst to actually fix many of South Dakota’s restrictive ballot access laws.

  1. Merlyn Schutterle
    July 22, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    It doesn’t matter whose name is on the ballot. Voters for Mike. Besides that, will know who the real candidate is. Besides that, they don’t vote by who is second on the ticket anyhow.

    • July 22, 2014 at 11:17 pm

      You have a point there. I’ve talked with many people who don’t know the current Lt Gov

      • Merlyn Schutterle
        July 24, 2014 at 1:11 am

        I’m one of them.

  2. July 23, 2014 at 5:09 am

    It’s still not right, but that’s what happens with a one party dictatorship. Abuse of power. Ken, hope you run on the libertarian ticket.

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