Amendment T Deserves a Yes Vote [OPINION]
The result of passing Amendment T this year will be to change the people who decide the boundaries of South Dakota Legislative Districts. It is one of ten issues on the November ballot.
Currently, our legislators are deciding who lives within their district. This system is falling out of favor around the country as many states are setting up non-elected boards to decide.
The reason for the change in other places? Accusations of gerrymandering, and in many cases proof of it.
Amendment T does set up a non-elected board. The membership of that board to be evenly distributed among Democrats, Republicans AND Independents. The State Election Commission, which is under the umbrella of the Secretary of State, will appoint those members.
The current South Dakota system uses only legislators. Since there are no Independents in the Legislature, there are none deciding district boundaries. Independents make up over 20% of eligible voters.
Also the current system gives a distinct advantage to the party in power. In our state, Republicans. Since that party has control of both the House and Senate, that party dominates the decision making process.
Amendment T changes the current unfair weighted system to a level and balanced one.
Each party is equally represented, and that includes Independents. No more stacking membership in favor of one party or the other.
Opponents of this idea claim only legislators are smart enough to figure out district boundaries. A pretty arrogant statement.
As a private citizen I served on the redistricting board when the City of Sioux Falls needed to change boundaries as a result of new census information. Frankly, you do have to be analytical and smart, but you don't have to be elected to do the job.
At a time when our elected officials have such poor favorability ratings and our state has experienced some embarrassing and tragic incidents as a result of our leaders not going their jobs, I believe putting citizens in charge of setting up legislative districts makes sense.
I am voting in favor of Amendment T.