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CHAPTER 12-6

PRIMARY ELECTIONS

12-6-1      Offices to which chapter applies.
12-6-2      Third-term gubernatorial nomination prohibited.
12-6-3      Candidacy for two offices at one election prohibited--Exceptions.
12-6-3.1      Legislative candidates required to reside in district of candidacy.
12-6-3.2      Candidate required to register with party.
12-6-4      Petition required to place candidate's name on primary ballot_Time and place of filing.
12-6-4.1      Earliest time for circulating petitions or certificates.
12-6-4.2      Repealed.
12-6-5      Form of nominating petition prescribed by state board.
12-6-6      Joint petitions for delegate and legislative candidates--Individual petitions otherwise required.
12-6-7      Petition composed of several sheets--Signature requirements.
12-6-7.1      Petition for candidate for Legislature, county political public office, or county party office.
12-6-8      Time and manner of signing petition--Declaration of candidate--Verification--Signing for independent or nonpolitical candidate.
12-6-8.1      Withdrawal from primary election--Time and place of filing.
12-6-9      Unopposed candidate automatically nominated--Primary not held if no contest.
12-6-10      Repealed.
12-6-11      Certification to county auditors of nominating petitions filed with secretary of state.
12-6-12, 12-6-13.      Repealed.
12-6-14      Form of official primary ballot prescribed by state board.
12-6-14.1      Repealed.
12-6-15 to 12-6-17.      Repealed.
12-6-18      Repealed.
12-6-19 to 12-6-25.      Repealed.
12-6-26      Qualifications of voters at primary--Party registration requirements.
12-6-26.1 to 12-6-49.      Repealed.
12-6-50      Nomination by plurality at primary.
12-6-51      Repealed.
12-6-51.1      Percentage of votes required to run for Senate, House of Representatives, or Governor_Runoff election.
12-6-51.2      Repealed.
12-6-51.3      Certification of runoff candidates.
12-6-51.4      Repealed.
12-6-52      Party officials elected by plurality at primary.
12-6-53, 12-6-54.      Repealed.
12-6-55      Withdrawal by nominee--Time and place of filing.
12-6-56      Vacancies in party ticket to be filled by party committee.
12-6-56.1      Rejected.
12-6-57      Meeting of party committee to fill vacancies--Manner of voting.
12-6-58      Application of vacancy provisions to special congressional elections.
12-6-59 to 12-6-63.      Repealed.
12-6-64      Liberal construction of primary election laws.


     12-6-1.   Offices to which chapter applies. The provisions of this chapter shall apply to the election to party office and for the nominations of political and nonpolitical candidates for public offices except as may be otherwise provided.

Source: SL 1929, ch 118, § 2; SDC 1939, § 16.0208; SL 1947, ch 84; SL 1973, ch 74, § 1.


     12-6-2.   Third-term gubernatorial nomination prohibited. No person shall be nominated under the provisions of this chapter for election to the office of Governor for a third successive term.

Source: SDC 1939, § 16.0208 as added by SL 1947, ch 84.


     12-6-3.   Candidacy for two offices at one election prohibited--Exceptions. No person may be a candidate for nomination or election to more than one public office except for the office of President of the United States or vice president of the United States. However, a candidate for any such office is not prohibited from being elected to any one or more party offices as may be provided in chapter 12-5.

Source: SDC 1939, § 16.0215; SL 1973, ch 74, § 2; SL 2002, ch 73, § 3; SL 2015, ch 76, § 3.


     12-6-3.1.   Legislative candidates required to reside in district of candidacy. Any candidate for office in the State Legislature shall be a resident of the district for which he is a candidate at the time he signs his declaration of candidacy as required by this chapter.

Source: SL 1990, ch 105, § 1.


     12-6-3.2.   Candidate required to register with party. No person may sign a declaration of candidacy or be nominated as a political candidate for a party unless that person is a registered voter with that party affiliation.

Source: SL 1998, ch 80, § 1.


     12-6-4.   Petition required to place candidate's name on primary ballot--Time and place of filing. Except as provided by § 12-5-4 and as may be otherwise provided in chapter 12-9, no candidate for any office to be filled, or nomination to be made, at either or both the primary or general election, other than a presidential election, may have that person's name printed upon the official primary election ballot of that person's party, unless a petition has been filed on that person's behalf after December thirty-first and by the last Tuesday of March at five p.m. local time before the date of the primary election. If the petition is mailed by registered mail by the last Tuesday of March at five p.m. local time before the primary election, the petition shall be considered timely submitted. A nominating petition for national convention delegates and alternates as provided in § 12-5-3.11 shall be filed in accordance with the provisions of this section. Nominating petitions for all party and public offices except legislative and judicial offices shall be filed in the office of the county auditor of the county in which the person is a candidate. Nominating petitions for legislative and judicial office whether elected in one or more counties, and all other party and public offices to be voted on in more than one county shall be filed in the Office of the Secretary of State.

Source: SDC 1939, § 16.0210; SL 1939, ch 75; SL 1957, ch 83, § 1; SL 1961, ch 93, § 1; SL 1971, ch 84; SL 1973, ch 74, § 3; SL 1977, ch 108, § 1; SL 1986, ch 115, § 5; SL 1997, ch 75, § 6; SL 2007, ch 81, § 9; SL 2015, ch 77, § 1 rejected Nov. 8, 2016; SL 2017, ch 69, § 2.


     12-6-4.1.   Earliest time for circulating petitions or certificates. No petition or certificate of nomination covered by this chapter may be circulated prior to the first day of January of the year in which the election will be held.

Source: SL 1977, ch 108, § 5; SL 2015, ch 77, § 4 rejected Nov. 8, 2016.


     12-6-4.2.   Repealed by SL 1997, ch 75, § 7.


     12-6-5.   Form of nominating petition prescribed by state board. The form of the nominating petition shall be prescribed by the State Board of Elections.

Source: SL 1929, ch 118, § 5; SDC 1939, § 16.0210; SL 1939, ch 75; SL 1957, ch 83, § 1; SL 1961, ch 93, § 1; SL 1976, ch 105, § 15.


     12-6-6.   Joint petitions for delegate and legislative candidates--Individual petitions otherwise required. Two or more candidates for delegates to the state convention of the party, and except as to candidates in joint legislative districts, candidates for two or more legislative offices may be included in one nominating petition. Except as provided herein and in § 12-5-3, individual nominating petitions shall be filed.

Source: SL 1929, ch 118, § 4; SL 1931, ch 145; SDC 1939, § 16.0210; SL 1939, ch 75; SL 1957, ch 83, § 1; SL 1961, ch 93, § 1; SL 1973, ch 74, § 4.


     12-6-7.   Petition composed of several sheets--Signature requirements. A nominating petition may be composed of several sheets, each sheet shall have identical headings printed at the top and shall be a self-contained sheet of paper. The petition for party office or political public office shall be signed by not less than one percent of the voters who voted for that party's gubernatorial candidate at the last gubernatorial election in the county, part of the county, district, or state electing a candidate to fill the office. If the party meets the requirement for alternative political status as defined in § 12-1-3.1, the petition for party office or political public office shall be signed by not less than one percent of the voters who voted for that party's statewide candidate receiving the highest votes at the last gubernatorial election in the county, part of the county, district, or state electing a candidate to fill the office. If a county uses vote centers and does not print ballots by precinct, signature requirements for both partisan and independent candidates are:
             (1)      Fifty signatures for a legislative candidate whose district either in whole or in part includes that county;
             (2)      Thirty signatures for a county candidate;
             (3)      Fifteen signatures for county commissioner district candidates;
             (4)      Five signatures for a new party legislative candidate whose district either in whole or in part includes that county;
             (5)      Five signatures for a new party county candidate; or
             (6)      Three signatures for a new party county commissioner district candidate.

Source: SL 1929, ch 118, § 4; SL 1931, ch 145; SDC 1939, § 16.0210; SL 1939, ch 75; SL 1957, ch 83, § 1; SL 1961, ch 93, § 1; SL 1973, ch 74, § 5; SL 1976, ch 105, § 16; SL 2015, ch 77, § 5 rejected Nov. 8, 2016; SL 2017, ch 2, § 9; SL 2017, ch 69, § 3; SL 2018, ch 74, § 2, eff. Mar. 23, 2018.


     12-6-7.1.   Petition for candidate for Legislature, county political public office, or county party office. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 12-6-7 a nominating petition for a candidate for office in the State Legislature, county political public office, and county party office shall be signed by not less than fifty voters or not less than one percent of the voters who cast their vote for the party's gubernatorial candidate, whichever is less. The petition shall clearly designate the senatorial or representative district for which said individual is a candidate.

Source: SL 1972, ch 80; SL 1973, ch 74, § 6; SL 1976, ch 105, § 17; SL 2015, ch 77, § 6 rejected Nov. 8, 2016.


     12-6-8.   Time and manner of signing petition--Declaration of candidate--Verification--Signing for independent or nonpolitical candidate. No person may sign the nominating petition of a candidate before January first in the year in which the election is to be held, nor for whom the person is not entitled to vote, nor for a political candidate of a party of which the person is not a member, nor for more than the number of candidates required to be nominated for the same office. The signer or circulator shall add the signer's place of residence and the date of signing. The signer's post office box number may be given in lieu of a street address if the signer lives within a municipality of the second or third class. A formal declaration of the candidate shall be signed by the candidate before the circulation of petitions. The signed declaration of the candidate shall accompany and be a part of the petition. An original signed declaration shall accompany the group of petitions upon filing. The petition shall be verified under oath by the persons circulating the petition. The verification by the person circulating the petition may not be notarized by the candidate whom the petition is nominating. A nominating petition for any election shall be a self-contained sheet of paper in order to have the candidate's name placed on the ballot. The provisions of this section may not prohibit a person registered with party affiliation from signing either a petition nominating an independent or a nonpolitical candidate for office if the person has not previously signed a petition for that office to be filled.

Source: SL 1929, ch 118, § 4; SL 1931, ch 145; SDC 1939, § 16.0210; SL 1939, ch 75; SL 1957, ch 83, § 1; SL 1961, ch 93, § 1; SL 1973, ch 74, § 7; SL 1976, ch 105, § 18; SL 1978, ch 97, § 1; SL 1992, ch 110, § 1; SL 2013, ch 63, § 3; SL 2015, ch 77, § 7 rejected Nov. 8, 2016; SL 2017, ch 69, § 4.


     12-6-8.1.   Withdrawal from primary election--Time and place of filing. Any person may have his or her name withdrawn from the primary election by making a written request under oath. The request shall be filed with the officer with whom the nominating petition was filed pursuant to § 12-6-4, not later than two days after the last Tuesday in March at five p.m. If the request is mailed by registered mail not later than two days after the last Tuesday in March at five p.m., the request is properly filed. No name that is withdrawn pursuant to this section may be printed on the ballots to be used at the election.

Source: SL 1981, ch 121; SL 2007, ch 81, § 10; SL 2011, ch 78, § 1; SL 2015, ch 77, § 13 rejected Nov. 8, 2016.


     12-6-9.   Unopposed candidate automatically nominated--Primary not held if no contest. A candidate for nomination to an office, or election to a party office, having no opposing candidate within his party, shall automatically become the nominee of his party or elected party official for said office, and his name shall not be printed on the primary election ballot. If there are no opposing candidates for nomination or election of either state or county candidates in any county, no primary election shall be held in that county, and the candidates shall be automatically nominated or elected.

Source: SL 1929, ch 118, § 8; SDC 1939, § 16.0215; SL 1978, ch 98.


     12-6-10.   Repealed by SL 1973, ch 74, § 14.


     12-6-11.   Certification to county auditors of nominating petitions filed with secretary of state. It shall be the duty of the secretary of state, as soon as the time for filing nominating petitions in his office has passed, immediately to certify to the several county auditors of the state the names of the persons in whose behalf nominating petitions have been filed in his office as candidates for each political party separately, with the name of the office for which each person is a candidate, and certify the color, style and form of the official primary election ballot of each political party.

Source: SL 1929, ch 118, § 8; SDC 1939, § 16.0215; SL 1973, ch 74, § 8.


     12-6-12, 12-6-13.   Repealed by SL 1973, ch 74, § 14.


     12-6-14.   Form of official primary ballot prescribed by state board. The form of the official primary election ballot shall be prescribed by the State Board of Elections.

Source: SL 1929, ch 118, § 9; SDC 1939, § 16.0215; SL 1963, ch 107, § 3; SL 1976, ch 105, § 19.


     12-6-14.1.   Repealed by SL 1996, ch 94, § 2.


     12-6-15 to 12-6-17.   Repealed by SL 1973, ch 74, § 14.


     12-6-18.   Repealed by SL 1972, ch 85, § 4.


     12-6-19 to 12-6-25.   Repealed by SL 1973, ch 74, § 14.


     12-6-26.   Qualifications of voters at primary--Party registration requirements. No person may vote a party ballot at any primary election unless the person is registered as a member of that political party in the precinct in which the person seeks to vote. Any political party in its constitution or bylaws may allow for participation in the party's primary elections by any person who is registered to vote with no party affiliation. Any such change to the constitution or bylaws of a political party shall be filed pursuant to § 12-5-1.1 by January first of the year in the which the primary is conducted.

Source: SDC 1939, § 16.0203; SL 1961, ch 92, § 8; SDCL § 12-4-26; SL 1973, ch 74, § 9; SL 1981, ch 13, § 2; SL 1996, ch 97; SL 2009, ch 69, § 3.


     12-6-26.1 to 12-6-49.   Repealed by SL 1973, ch 74, § 14.


     12-6-50.   Nomination by plurality at primary. Any candidate for a party nomination to public office, who receives the highest number of votes cast by the voters of his party for the office for which he is a candidate, shall be declared the nominee of his party.

Source: SL 1929, ch 118, § 39; SDC 1939, § 16.0234.


     12-6-51.   Repealed by SL 1985, ch 110, § 3.


     12-6-51.1.   Percentage of votes required to run for Senate, House of Representatives, or Governor--Runoff election. If no candidate for United States Senate, United States House of Representatives, or Governor in a race involving three or more candidates receives thirty-five percent of the votes of the candidate's party, a runoff election shall be held ten weeks from the date of the first primary election. At the runoff election the only persons voted for shall be the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes at the first election. However, if there is a tie for second place in the first primary election and there is no tie for first place, all tying second place candidates shall be placed along with the first place candidate on the ballot for the runoff election. The runoff election shall be held at the same polling places, be conducted, returned, and canvassed and the results declared in the same manner as the first election. However, if the runoff election does not have a federal race, the electronic ballot marking system is not required, and hand-counted ballots may be used. The person receiving the highest number of votes at the runoff election is nominated as the candidate for the party.

Source: SL 1985, ch 110, § 1; SL 2008, ch 34, § 8; SL 2010, ch 74, § 11; SL 2013, ch 64, § 1; SL 2017, ch 69, § 5.


     12-6-51.2.   Repealed by SL 1999, ch 72, § 1.


     12-6-51.3.   Certification of runoff candidates. Within twenty-four hours after the completion of the canvass, the secretary of state shall certify runoff candidates, listed in the order determined by a drawing of names, to all county auditors.

Source: SL 1985, ch 110, § 1F; SL 1999, ch 72, § 2; SL 2008, ch 34, § 9.


     12-6-51.4.   Repealed by SL 2008, ch 34, § 10.


     12-6-52.   Party officials elected by plurality at primary. Any candidate for party precinct committeeman, or committeewoman, or delegate to the state convention, who received the highest number of votes, shall be declared elected to the office for which he is a candidate.

Source: SL 1929, ch 118, § 39; SDC 1939, § 16.0234; SL 1963, ch 107, § 4; SL 1973, ch 73, § 1.


     12-6-53, 12-6-54.   Repealed by SL 1973, ch 74, § 14.


     12-6-55.   Withdrawal by nominee--Time and place of filing. Any person nominated to any elective office may cause his name to be withdrawn from nomination by request in writing, subscribed and sworn to by him before any officer qualified to administer oaths and take acknowledgments. The request shall be filed with the officer with whom the nominating petition was filed pursuant to § 12-6-4, not later than the first Tuesday in August at 5:00 p.m. before the ensuing election. No name so withdrawn shall be printed upon the ballots to be used at such election.

Source: SL 1897, ch 60, § 12; RPolC 1903, § 1909; SL 1918 (SS), ch 44, § 2; SL 1918 (SS), ch 46, § 4; RC 1919, § 7206; SL 1929, ch 117, § 2; SL 1935, ch 109, § 2; SL 1937, ch 124, § 2; SDC 1939, § 16.0245; SL 1961, ch 95; SL 1971, ch 87, § 5; SL 1973, ch 74, § 11; SL 1978, ch 99, § 1; SL 1979, ch 97, § 1.


     12-6-56.   Vacancies in party ticket to be filled by party committee. If a vacancy occurs by reason of death or withdrawal after a primary election, a party candidate for public office may be replaced by a new nominee if a meeting of the appropriate party central committee is held and the results are certified to the appropriate official within the times prescribed by § 12-8-6. If the vacancy is a party candidate for presidential elector or statewide office, the vacancy shall be filled by the State Party Central Committee. If the vacancy is a party candidate for public office other than presidential elector or statewide office, the vacancy shall be filled by a vote of county party central committee members in attendance who reside in the affected district.

Source: SL 1929, ch 118, § 56; SDC 1939, § 16.0243; SL 1973, ch 74, § 12; SL 1991, ch 119, § 1; SL 2007, ch 75, § 1; SL 2015, ch 77, § 20 rejected Nov. 8, 2016.


     12-6-56.1.   Rejected by referendum.


     12-6-57.   Meeting of party committee to fill vacancies--Manner of voting. The party State Central Committee chairman shall, upon learning of a vacancy for presidential elector or statewide office nominee, forthwith issue a call by mail for such central committee meeting to fill such vacancy, and designate the hour, date, and place where such meeting shall be held. The call for a meeting of county party central committees interested, in multi-county legislative districts, to fill vacancies, shall be issued by the state party chairmen, who shall notify all interested central committee members of the hour, date, and place where such meeting shall be held. A call for a meeting of a single-county district party central committee, to fill vacancies, shall be issued by such county central committee chairman upon learning of such vacancy. Vacancies filled by State Central Committee shall be by unit representation, each county casting the number of votes cast in that county at the last general election for that party's candidate for Governor; all other vacancies shall be filled by a majority vote of the party central committee or committees members present.

Source: SL 1929, ch 118, § 56; SDC 1939, § 16.0243; SL 1968, ch 77; SL 1991, ch 119, § 2.


     12-6-58.   Application of vacancy provisions to special congressional elections. Sections 12-6-56 and 12-6-57 shall also apply to the selection of candidates to be voted on at any special election to fill congressional vacancies pursuant to chapter 12-11.

Source: SL 1929, ch 118, § 56; SDC 1939, § 16.0243; SL 1968, ch 77; SL 1973, ch 74, § 13.


     12-6-59 to 12-6-63.   Repealed by SL 1973, ch 74, § 14.


     12-6-64.   Liberal construction of primary election laws. The laws of this state pertaining to primary elections shall be liberally construed so that the real will of the voters may not be defeated by a mere technicality.

Source: SL 1929, ch 118, § 58; SDC 1939, § 16.0248.


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