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Low voter turnout incentive for open primary support?

todayJune 5, 2024 3

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Only 17% of South Dakota voters took to the polls for Tuesday’s primary election. The low voter turnout is one reason South Dakota Open Primaries, a bipartisan organization, is pushing voters to their top-two primary ballot measure this November.

Joe Kirby, the chairman of South Dakota Open Primaries, says their overall goal is to involve more voters in the primaries.

“Not enough people are engaged in our elections. People don’t show up to vote. Half the people that show up to vote don’t have much to vote on. They saw that yesterday. And then there’s a bunch of people who aren’t welcome to vote,” Kirby said.

Kirby says an open primary would allow more people who register as independent to vote.

“The state is estimating that 50,000 additional voters would have shown up yesterday if we’d had open primaries. Because you’re empowering 150,000 independent voters to vote, and I guarantee they do want to vote,” Kirby said.

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If the organization’s ballot measure passes, every voter will get the same ballot with the candidate’s name and their party listed next to it, similar to the general election ballot.

“There will not be a Democratic ballot and a Republican ballot. It will be a South Dakota, we call it the South Dakota Primary Ballot. And then all voters will get to vote in the primary election,” De Knudson, the treasurer of South Dakota Open Primaries, said. “And again, the top two will advance to the general election. It’s an incredibly simple concept.”

This is the closest the organization has been to a top-two primary system passing since it failed in 2016. That previous ballot measure however did not have the candidate’s party listed next to it like the 2024 ballot measure does.

Hunhoff: Loss points to far-right movement in party

“I am confident that it’s going to pass in November, and I think voters are going to be very supportive,” Kirby said.

“Open primaries will create a much fairer system with lots of competition. And we do not have either right now,” Knudson said.

The general election will take place on Nov. 5.

Click here to see the 2024 Primary Election results.

Written by: Badlands Classic Rock

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