South Dakotans Vote Against Amendment C, Preserving Majority Rule for Ballot Measures and Clearing Path for Medicaid Expansion This Fall

Pierre, South Dakota – Tonight, Fairness Project declared a win for democracy in South Dakota after South Dakotans for Fair Elections defeated Amendment C in today’s primary election. Amendment C would have permanently changed the South Dakota constitution to end majority rule for ballot measures, allowing a minority of just 41% of voters to block citizen-led campaigns, including Medicaid expansion, which will be on the ballot in South Dakota in November. 

The Fairness Project invested more than $250,000 into the South Dakotans for Fair Elections campaign to fight proposed Amendment C as a part of its Ballot Measure Rescue Campaign to defend direct democracy across the country

“Today, the people of South Dakota have preserved their right to use direct democracy. This victory will benefit tens of thousands of South Dakotans who will choose to use the ballot measure process to increase access to health care for their families and neighbors, raise wages, and more policies that improve lives. We look forward to what’s next in South Dakota: an aggressive campaign to expand Medicaid in the state,” said Kelly Hall, executive director of Fairness Project.

“The work done by Fairness Project over the past several months was critical in defeating Amendment C and protecting democracy in South Dakota. At a time when voting rights and direct democracy are at risk, and politicians are trying to consolidate their power at all costs, I’m incredibly grateful that Fairness Project was able to provide the strategic and financial support we needed to defend South Dakotans’ rights. Their Ballot Measure Rescue Campaign will continue to be essential in pushing back against minority rule and ensuring voters across the country can create change with their ballots,” said Sandra Waltman, director of communications and government relations of the South Dakota Education Association.

In addition to consolidating power within the state legislature, Amendment C was intended to make passage of Medicaid expansion in South Dakota more difficult. South Dakota remains one of only 12 states that has yet to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Now that Amendment C has failed, the Medicaid expansion question on the ballot in South Dakota this November can be passed with a simple majority of votes. 

Fairness Project has worked to successfully pass Medicaid expansion via the ballot measure process in six states to date and plans to continue its support for the South Dakotans Decide Healthcare campaign.

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