Rolling Stone has a piece about South Dakota….
But it could be any number of states….
Referendum’s on Abortion pass state by state as a effort by voters to counter the effort to take away their access to the procedure…..
A number of Republicans running for office associated with limiting abortion have lost their run’s for office …
As in South Dakota….
Lawmakers are resorting to all sorts of things to hinder voters wishes…
In South Dakota, anti-abortion activists, with assists from GOP officials, have tried out a variety of tactics in recent months. Activists have been harassed, videotaped and repeatedly called the police on petition collectors, while local officials have sought to pass ordinances banning them from collecting signatures in public places. Most recently, the attorney general warned in a letter that he was in possession of “video and photographic evidence” that could allow opponents to challenge the signatures that have been collected so far.
“The organized opposition is more aggressive than I’ve encountered in any of these fights in the past,” says Adam Weiland, who has worked on various ballot measures in the state for years. “It’s the first time I’ve ever encountered people who don’t even want you to get on the ballot and let the voters vote. That’s the whole focus of their campaign.”
The same stories are playing out in battleground states and Republican-controlled states around the country. To get on the ballot in Arizona — a critical swing state in 2024 — canvassers must collect at least 370,000 valid signatures. But the rules are strict: if a single signature on a page of 15 is invalid, the entire page is thrown out. Anti-abortion activists have taken advantage of the rules to try to counteract the pro-choice organizers collection efforts. Amy Fitch-Heacock with Arizonans for Reproductive Freedom says she has witnessed protesters “take the petition, pretend that they are signing, but they will use false information: a fake name, fake address, or they will scribble and go outside of the lines” — setting canvassers back 15 signatures at a time.
In Florida, Republican Attorney General Ashley Moody has petitioned the state Supreme Court — now stacked with ultra-conservative DeSantis appointees — to stop the Florida Right to Reproductive Freedom Initiative from moving forward. “They basically made very disingenuous legal arguments,” Hélène Barthélemy, staff attorney with the ACLU of Florida, says of the attorney general’s office. But because of the makeup of the court, it’s possible that their argument could persuade the court. “Judges do what they want to do in every single circumstance. So we will see, but we’re as prepared as possible….
The Republican resistance to ballot measures is new. Back when Democrats controlled a majority of state houses around the country, the GOP loved direct democracy, and spearheaded initiatives to restrict collective bargaining, enact voter ID laws, and reject health insurance mandates. That changed after the seismic 2010 midterm elections that helped install GOP majorities in legislatures and governor’s mansions ahead of a once-a-decade redistricting process. Ever since, data shows Republicans have aggressively attacked the citizen-led initiative process — particularly in states where the party holds a trifecta.
South Dakota may be a rock-ribbed Republican stronghold, but when it comes to direct democracy, voters have proven open-minded….
The landscape, meanwhile, is dramatically different in Democrat-controlled states. In Maryland, advocates have experienced virtually no resistance whatsoever, and say they are aware of no organized opposition. “We’re expecting a disinformation campaign,” says Joanne Antoine, executive director of Common Cause Maryland. “But outside of that we’re not hearing anything at all.”