Election results 2016 are not looking good

The results of the 2016 legislative election are not looking good for LGBTQ South Dakotans.

Equality South Dakota Political Action Committee endorsed 45 legislative candidates based upon either their voting record or their response to a survey.  Of these 45, only 20 won and 25 lost.

EqSD PAC was opposed to 46 candidates.  Unfortunately, 45 of them won their legislative seat.

See more details here: election_results_2016

The only anti-LGBTQ candidate to lose was Roger Hunt of District 25 (Brandon – Dell Rapids area).   Hunt introduced anti-transgender legislation the past two sessions that we were able to defeat each time.

Hunt, a Republican, lost by only by 33 votes to Democrat Dan Ahlers which makes this race eligible for a recount. Another reminder that every vote counts!

Sen. Phil Jensen of Rapid City, the other anti-LGBTQ legislator, won re-election.

Fred Deutsch, the sponsor of this year’s “potty bill,” chose not to run again.   He was replaced by two new Republicans of which we do not know their position on LGBTQ issues.

Of the 105 members of the 2017 Legislature, only 20 (12 Democrat, 8 Republican) can be identified as being LGBTQ-supportive based upon their past voting record or their response to EqSD PAC’s survey.

44 members, all returning Republicans, are opposed to LGBTQ issues.

The remaining 41 legislators (37 Republican, 4 Democrat) are classified as neutral.  Ten of these are returning legislators with a mixed voting record and 31 of them are new legislators of which we do not know their position on LGBTQ issues.

To effectively stop any anti-LGBTQ legislation will require the assistance of a lobbyist.

You can help. 

Please help Equality South Dakota hire a lobbyist by making a donation at  http://eqsd.org/donate/

Lawrence Novotny, chair
Equality South Dakota

Equality South Dakota Political Action Committee Endorsements

Election Day is a week away. PLEASE VOTE!! You can vote early at your local county auditor’s office.

EqSD PAC is endorsing 43 legislative candidates and opposing 46 legislative candidates. These are detailed in the EqSD PAC Voters Guide.

EqSD PAC is also supporting Amendment T. Amendment T would create an independent commission to re-draw legislative districts every 10 years. This would eliminate gerrymandered districts which result in conservative legislators being elected.

EqSD PAC is also endorsing Amendment V which would establish non-partisan elections. Nathan Leach offers this explanation for Amendment V:

I grew up in Kearney, Nebraska, a moderately conservative city of 35,000. I came out as gay early in high school, and got involved in promoting LGBTQIA issues early on. Seeing as I’ve always been interested in politics, my junior year of high school in 2014 a friend and I organized a group of LGBTQIA students and allies and we met with our local state senator, Galen Hadley (who is an 74 year old white male and the Speaker of the Nebraska Legislature) at a local coffee shop. We wanted to ask him to vote in favor LGBT workplace protections. To our shock, he said he would – and he voted in favor of the bill two years in a row! What shocked us more is that Speaker Hadley wasn’t the only Republican to support it. In fact, even though Nebraska’s State Legislature has a super-majority of Republicans, the hard-core conservatives had to filibuster the bill to keep the Democrats and moderate Republicans from passing it!

Outside of Nebraska, there is no state in the US where the Republican leader of the Legislature would support these kinds of LGBTQIA issues. Why is Nebraska different? Because of nonpartisan elections.

Amendment V creates nonpartisan elections for all elected offices in South Dakota, mirroring the Nebraska model. It puts all candidates running for office on a single primary ballot without party designation, voters can vote for whichever candidate they want, and the top-two vote getters go onto the general election regardless of party. This lets all voters (includes Independents – and there are 115,000 of them in South Dakota) vote in the primary. Candidates are then forced to get votes from all voters, not just their party base, and as a result politicians are less concerned about the political parties they belong to, and more concerned about the voters they serve! That’s why so many Republican legislators supported LGBTQ workplace protections in a red state like Nebraska.

And the same holds true for other traditionally partisan issues like the gas tax, the death penalty, and allowing children of undocumented immigrants the ability to get drivers licenses. Again and again, legislators in Nebraska put people before politics, and consider these issues like normal humans. Amendment V makes politicians people servants, not party servants.
If Amendment V passes, the Republican Party can no longer force open-minded Republicans to oppose common-sense LGBTQIA issues, and more moderate Republicans (like Galen Hadley in Nebraska) are more likely to get elected and pay attention to our community. This Amendment would be a huge step forward for LGBTQIA issues in South Dakota, and it needs your support! Our polling shows that it’s a neck-and-neck race, and every vote will make a huge difference.

EqSD PAC Voters Guide 2016

Equality South Dakota Political Action Committee has released its voters guide for the 2016 general election.   EqSD PAC is endorsing 43 legislative candidates and opposing 46 legislative candidates.

The endorsements were made based upon (1) responses to a survey EqSD PAC sent to each candidate and (2) the candidate’s legislative voting record.   EqSD PAC is endorsing 36 Democrats and 7 Republicans.   Of the remaining 88 legislative candidates, EqSD PAC is neither endorsing nor opposing for these reasons:  (1) the candidate had a mixed voting record or (2) is a newcomer candidate on which EqSD PAC has no information to make a decision (the candidate did not return the survey).

EqSD is also supporting Amendment T. Amendment T would create an independent commission to re-draw legislative districts every 10 years. This would eliminate gerrymandered districts.

See the voters guide to learn how your candidates rank!

EqSD 2016 Voting Guide

EQSD-PAC_logo_horz-K+180cAs we look toward the fall elections, it is important to know who our friends are.

EqSD has compiled this Voting Record (pdf) that reports how the votes we most care about went down in Pierre last session.


Please share this information widely!

EqSD PAC is currently in the process of surveying legislative candidates and will be making endorsements in about a month.

Please join us – and check back.