Home > SD 2014 Ballot, South Dakota > Some highlights of and thoughts about the SOS debate on KSOO

Some highlights of and thoughts about the SOS debate on KSOO

October 9, 2014

Yesterday the SD Secretary of State candidates had a debate on KSOO radio. This was actually a pretty good debate that I wish happened in all races. I’ve got to send a huge hat-tip out to Rick Knobe and Todd Epp for how well they hosted this debate. All four candidates had thoughtful answers and didn’t seem to get stuck on partisan bickering. If politics happened like that more often, I feel fewer people would be disenfranchised with the whole voting process.

Before going into the debate. Here is a list of all four Secretary of State candidates and some links to get more information about each of them (listed by ballot order):

Lori Stacey – Constitution Party – WebsiteFacebookBallotpediaVoteSmartSoDakLiberty Posts

Emmett Reistroffer – Libertarian Party – WebsiteFacebookTwitterBallotpediaVoteSmartSoDakLiberty Posts

Angelia Schultz – Democrat Party – WebsiteFacebookTwitterBallotpediaVoteSmartSoDakLiberty Posts

Shantel Krebs – Republican Party – WebsiteFacebookTwitterBallotpediaVoteSmartOpenStatesSoDakLiberty Posts

Here are some one to two sentence highlights of each candidates answers (compiled from my live-tweeting). I’ve also included my thoughts about the candidates answers.

Angelia Schultz in Aberdeen. Photo by Ken Santema 06/24/14

Angelia Schultz. Photo by Ken Santema 06/24/14

Voter participation – The first question was about how each candidate would work to increase voter registration and participation in the election process.

Schultz – Schultz mentioned that impartiality needs to be restored to the office. I think most people who follow politics would agree (I certainly do).

Stacey – Stacey focused on the fact it is hard for people to trust final vote counts. She would like to return to a system where votes are counted manually at each precinct in front of the public.

Krebs – Krebs mentioned she would work with the Kids Voting program as a way to educate the youth about the election process.

Reistroffer – Reistroffer believes the election code needs to change so online voter registration can occur up to election day.

My thoughts – I will give Krebs and Reistroffer a slight win in this question. I agree with Schultz that integrity needs to be restored to the office, but I think all four candidates would also agree. That talking point didn’t really set her apart. Stacey’s answer just makes me think the election process would go backwards if she became SOS. I can understand why she wants to go back to paper ballots being counted in front of the public; but there are other ways to gain more transparency in the process without rejecting technology. The Kids Voting program mentioned by Krebs is actually a pretty good school curriculum from what I understand. More focus on getting youth engaged in the system does appear to be the best way  to get the electorate engaged. And finally, Reistroffer mentioned online voter registration being available up to election day. Other states have implemented such a system very successfully. Anything that makes the whole process easier will increase voter participation.

Lori Stacey speaking in Sioux Falls. Photo by Ken Santema 08/23/14

Lori Stacey speaking in Sioux Falls. Photo by Ken Santema 08/23/14

Voter ID – The candidates were asked about Voter ID’s. Are the current Voter ID requirements sufficient, too restrictive, or just about right?

Stacey – Stacey believes Voter ID issues would be fixed if illegal immigration was fixed. She also spoke against a national ID.

Krebs – Krebs said it is expected by most citizens that some sort of ID should be shown to vote. She did go on to note that many types of ID’s work, and not just a driver’s license. In answer to the question, she thinks SD has just about the right amount of Voter ID laws.

Reistroffer – Reistroffer agreed with Krebs that requiring an ID when voting helps to prevent voter fraud.

Schultz – Schultz said Voter IDs are a socioeconomic issue. She contends some people are prevented from voting because they cannot afford an ID. She has spoken with people who have been turned away from the voting booth because they didn’t have an ID; and they didn’t’ realize there was an option to vote in SD without an ID. Schultz mentioned election staff may need more education, especially in regards to Voter ID requirements.

My Thoughts – I think Krebs and Reistroffer answered closest to how I see Voter ID. It isn’t too burdensome for someone to prove they are a valid voter; but that has to be balanced in a way that makes sure economically disadvantaged voters are not disenfranchised from voting. That’s where I think Schultz was correct about more education for those working in voting centers.

Here are the approved forms of Voter IDs listed on the SOS website:

  • South Dakota driver’s license or nondriver ID card
  • U.S. government photo ID
  • U.S. Armed Forces ID
  • Student photo ID from a South Dakota high school or South Dakota accredited institution of higher education
  • Tribal photo ID
  • If you do not have a photo ID, you can sign a personal identification affidavit.

That last one is important. If someone doesn’t have a photo ID they can still vote. They just have to sign a personal identification affidavit. It is a simple thing to do.

Shantel Krebs in Huron. Photo by Ken Santema 07/07/14

Shantel Krebs in Huron. Photo by Ken Santema 07/07/14

Voting Centers – A question about whether voting centers should be made mandatory.

Krebs – Krebs would not mandate voting centers. This is a local control issue. The local county auditors actually run and figure out how to fund the elections.

Reistroffer – Reistroffer would not support any mandate on voting centers. Further he would not mandate other parts of the election process that counties are in charge of. Reistroffer did note the voting centers have been successful and believe they are a good tool for counties to utilize.

Schultz – Schultz noted Brown County has successfully implemented voting centers. She then went on to say more special voting places were needed and that Krebs has come out against that in the past.

Stacey – Stacey would push for more places for people to vote. This is especially true where there isn’t a voting place within a reasonable distance. She would keep the local precinct system, therefore she does not support voting centers.

Krebs Rebuttal – Krebs was allowed to rebut Schultz. Krebs said there is a difference between voting centers and satellite voting locations. She also noted that HAVA has already been used to create satellite voting locations.

Schultz Rebuttal – Schultz noted she understood the difference between the different types of places to vote. She will continue to use the term special voting center she has heard used. She also noted she has used one in Brown County.

My Thoughts – In this question I have to admit Schultz did sound confused. I believe she was confusing the voting centers (which she used in Brown) with the satellite voting locations (which I think is what she claimed Krebs doesn’t support). Again, I have to say Krebs and Reistroffer answered closest to what I want to hear. It would be bad for the SOS or legislature to start imposing mandates on the County Auditors. It really is a local control issue.

Emmett Reistroffer in Sioux Falls. Photo by Ken Santema 08/09/14

Emmett Reistroffer in Sioux Falls. Photo by Ken Santema 08/09/14

3rd Parties – A question about what should be done to level the playing field for third parties.

Reistroffer – Reistroffer said he would lobby the legislature to change South Dakota election code whether he wins the SOS race or not. He calls the current elections laws in SD a spider-web. Further, he contends the current election code in SD is set up to keep the establishment in power.

Schultz – Schultz doesn’t think there is an unfair playing field. Instead the thinks there has been an unfair adjudication. She goes on to say the main problem is that the SOS office has been treating non-republican parties unfairly.

Stacey – Stacey believes SD should allow write-ins on the ballot. She wants to make sure the ballot is open to any that wish to be part of the process.

Krebs – Krebs mentioned election law and the board of elections. She noted the SOS doesn’t have the power to mandate, just oversee. Krebs would rather focus on educating candidates; instead of changing petitioning requirements.

My Thoughts – I give Reistroffer the win from my viewpoint in this question. SD election codified law does seem to be setup to makes it unreasonably hard for any non-establishment candidate that wishes to run for office. Only the legislature can fix that problem, the SOS simply has to follow the law. Schultz has a good point about the SOS treating various parties different from how he would Republicans. The only problem is, it would appear Schultz is trying to run against Gant, and she needs to be focused on her opponents that are actually in this race. I think it would be a huge stretch to say Krebs and Gant are the same just because they are both Republicans.

Election Classes – A question about whether election classes should be mandated to candidates.

Krebs – Krebs would rather focus on educating candidates. She would like to get a how-to booklet published by the SOS office that would help candidates understand what needs to be done.

Reistroffer – Reistroffer said such a mandate basically already exists due to the many requirements that are placed upon a candidate seeking office.

Schultz – Schultz said it comes down to educating the County Auditors and their staff.

Stacey – Stacey doesn’t think a mandate is necessary, but said that a smart candidate needs to learn the rules.

My Thoughts – I didn’t think anyone would support a mandate for candidate education. I do hope whoever wins will consider Krebs booklet idea.

Pay to Play – A question about whether there should be an option to pay for ballot access, instead of the current petition process.

Schultz – Schultz said a dollar amount makes it tough for those in lower socioeconomic classes.

Stacey – Stacey does not support petitions. She believes in fair and equal access elections.

Krebs – Krebs said the petition process allows voters to be introduced to candidates. It also allows the SOS to verify the eligibility of candidates.

Reistroffer – Reistroffer definitely wants to keep the petition process. He says there has to be some hurdle for candidates and that the petition process helps candidates build a better campaign.

My Thoughts – I wish Stacey would have expanded upon what a good alternative would be. Personally I think SD should move to a mixed system, where candidates can either gather signatures or pay a certain dollar amount for ballot access.

Business Filings – A question about what each candidate would change in the SOS office and website for businesses to “do business” in South Dakota.

Stacey – Stacey said the SOS website should be more interactive. She would like to add a chat function.

Krebs – Krebs wants to “think big picture”. She believes the SOS office can be used to compete with other states. She had a few suggestions, a big one was to promote SD with the Bar Associations. She also noted and changes have to be driven by communication from the actual end-users.

Reistroffer – Reistroffer wants to make sure small businesses have the same opportunities as big businesses. He also promoted a One-Stop-Shop for business to do business with the state. Finally he believes the Governors Office of Economic Development (GOED) should be moved under the SOS.

Schultz – Schultz said it is important for the SOS to make processes easy for small businesses and corporations.

My Thoughts – Here again, I think Krebs and Reistroffer had ideas that were just great. I’ve spoken with Krebs about Bar Associations in the past. I agree with her, many nationwide corporations make their decision upon where to expand based upon recommendations from bar associations. Working with those groups would do a lot to bring business into South Dakota. And Reistroffer’s One-Stop-Shop idea is needed no matter who wins. It is very confusing for small business owners dealing with the state. Often times people don’t understand there is a difference between the SOS, DRR, DHS, etc… The SOS office would be a great place for all business owners to deal with, especially for online interactions.

UCC – A question about the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). Is there anything the SOs can do to help UCC filings for business development.

Krebs – Krebs noted this is more of a legislative issue.

Reistroffer – Reistroffer thinks there is a complex set of issues with tribal lands and businesses. He would appoint someone in the SOS office to be a tribal liaison.

Schultz – Schultz agrees this is really a legislative issue.

Stacey – Stacey agrees with Reistroffer. But she said it would be hard for any of the four candidates to understand what the tribal needs are. She would rather work with the tribes to discover their most pertinent issues.

My Thoughts – The SD UCC page can be found here on the SOS website. This is a tough question. SD (like all other states) have adopted UCC. But as Reistroffer noted, unique legal issues on the reservations have made UCC filings hard (impossible?) for tribal businesses. This might be an interesting topic for a legislative summer-study.

Gone in 60 seconds – Each candidate was given 60 seconds to explain why they should be elected. I will also add my final thought on each candidate.

Krebs – Krebs noted her ten-year history in the legislature and the fact nobody will work harder. She has been in this election basically a year now. It is quite obvious she has studied the office and has some ideas to bring the SOS position forward.

Stacey – Stacey mentioned she has an eight point plan to reform elections in SD for free and impartial voting. Her fear of technology in elections makes me weary of her as a candidate though. Yes, there are risks, but the old system was not any more open than any new system.

Schultz – Schultz reiterated that integrity needs to be restored in the SOS office. I like Schultz as a person, and feel she would be a good SOS. But, she just didn’t seem to do enough homework on the SOS job to be called a winner in this debate.

Reistroffer – Reistroffer took a moment to point out some good things Gant did. I agree, Gant did some good (mixed with the bad). It is time to build on his good and move on. I think Reistroffer offered some good solutions in this debate. From this debate and talking to him, I can tell he has spent a lot of time looking at what works well in other states so it can be incorporated in SD.

My final thoughts – Based on this debate and talking with these candidates over the last half-year, I would say South Dakota would be OK with any of the candidates. Personally I believe Reistroffer and Krebs have the best ideas to actually bring the SOS office forward. It will be interesting to see what the winner of this race will do over the next four years.

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