For the second time in two years, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has enjoined South Dakota ballot-initiative restrictions as violative of the First Amendment. The Eighth Circuit affirmed a preliminary injunction barring the enforcement of a South Dakota bill that imposes 8th Circuit Spotlightnew obligations on individuals paid to circulate ballot-initiative petitions.

The case, Dakotans for Health v. Noem, No. 22-2428, 52 F.4th 381 (8th Cir. 2022), involves the power of South Dakotans to legislate through ballot initiatives, a right protected by the South Dakota Constitution. For an initiative to be placed on the ballot, petitions proposing a constitutional amendment must be “signed by qualified voters equal in number to at least ten percent of the total votes case for governor in the last gubernatorial election.” For the 2022 general election, a ballot-initiative petition would have required nearly 34,000 valid signatures. Both paid and volunteer petition circulators help organizations collect those signatures. (1 S.D. Const. art. III, §1.; 2 S.D. Const. art. XXIII, §1.; 3 See Dakotans for Health, 52 F.4th at 385.)

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