VOTERS WILL HAVE THEIR SAY TUESDAY
JEREMY WALTNER – PUBLISHER
Voters across the country will head to the polls next Tuesday, Nov. 3 for a general election headlined by a contentious race for president between Republican incumbent Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden. But there’s more on the ballot than that, including in South Dakota, where voters will weigh in on three ballot issues — two of which would legalize marijuana in the state and a third that would legalize sports betting in Deadwood.
The ballot issues pertaining to marijuana are Constitutional Amendment A, which would legalize and regulate it for recreational use for those 21 and older, and Initiated Measure 26, which would legalize it for medical purposes.
If passed, Constitutional Amendment A would allow for the possession and sale of up to one ounce of marijuana with a tax of 15%. Revenue from licensing fees and tax would be distributed evenly between public schools and the general fund. The estimated net revenues for FY2021 is more than $355,000, with that number increasing exponentially through FY2024, when estimates increase to more than $29.3 million.
If passed, Initiated Measure 26 allows for use marijuana by patients — including minors — to “alleviate debilitating medical conditions certified by the patients’ practitioners,” according to the Attorney General’s explanation on the ballot. Qualifying patients would have to obtain a registered card from the South Dakota Department of Health.
The third ballot issue is Constitutional Amendment B, which would authorize the Legislature to allow sports wagering in the historic city of Deadwood, which is not currently allowed by the South Dakota Constitution in the same way roulette, keno, craps, some card games and slot machines are.
A “yes” vote on any of the three ballot measures would be to adopt them into law.
The other political races local voters will see on the ballot are as follows:
For United States Senator: Incumbent Mike Rounds (R) vs. challenger Dan Ahlers (D);
For United State Representative: Incumbent Dusty Johnson (R) vs. challenger Randy “Uriah” Luallin (Libertarian Party);
For Public Utilities Commissioner: Incumbent Gary Hanson (R) vs. challengers Devin Saxon (L) and Remi W. B. Bald Eagle (D);
Local voters will also see uncontested races for a District 19 Senator — incumbent Kyle Schoenfish (R) is the only candidate on the ballot — and for District 19 Representative. In that race, voters may choose up to two candidates; Kent Peterson (R) and Marty Overweg (R) are both on the ballot.
Finally, this year’s General Election in South Dakota includes the question of whether Supreme Court Justice Steven Jensen, whose term expires on Jan. 1, 2021, should be retained on the highest court in the state. Voters will provide a simple “yes” or “no” answer.