KATIE ZERR: Change could prove difficult at state level


Another primary election is in the books. In some cases it turned out just as was predicted. In others it was a nail-biter that showed the importance of voting.

But there was apathy about the election. It is difficult to get excited about voting when there is no chance for a certain candidate against an opponent come the November election. A sentiment voiced by a colleague the morning after this election said a lot about what happened.

He said the Democrat who will face Gov. Dennis Daugaard in the November election had the demeanor of a sacrificial lamb in her acceptance speech. It is a disturbing yet accurate description.

As someone who takes voting very seriously, it is difficult to admit that I did not vote in yesterday’s primary. There was a race, the Democrat race for governor, in which I could have cast a ballot, but I did not fulfill my duty yesterday.

No excuses, just plain apathy.

We know who will be governor in November. As much as Susan Wismer may be qualified to be our next governor, she doesn’t have a chance. That is just the nature of South Dakota.

Unless something catastrophic happens between June and November, the Daugaards will stay in the mansion in Pierre.

On the state level, Republicans had a lot to digest, but those who watch the political climate of the state were predicting that Mike Rounds would take the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate without much of a challenge. They were right.

Rick Wieland has a big hill to climb, but South Dakotans do take the national races very seriously. The optimist in me hopes that Rounds will have a fight on his hands when it comes to that race, but the realist chides the optimist for false hope.

It will prove to be interesting to watch.

On Tuesday, several callers voiced their objection to not being able to have a voice in who will serve in Walworth County seats, including sheriff. In fact, in a conversation with candidates for that office, they said they had heard the same complaints.

As a taxpaying voter, I find it disturbing offices that have no valid reason for being party affiliated should be determined by only one group of people. Why should candidates for offices that have no law-making power have to be party affiliated? What is the importance of having a Republican or Democrat sheriff, auditor or treasurer?

There is nothing wrong with being proud a party affiliation, but does that affiliation make the candidate a more skilled office manager or a better manager of people? Does it make he or she a better officer of the law?

Does it make sense to force residents to keep switching their voter registration in order for them to have a voice in elections that are not politically connected?

It is a state law that these offices are party affiliated and the only way to change that is to change that law.

That means a concerted effort by our representatives to change it in Pierre.

As an Independent voter, when I talk to my representatives in Pierre about it, they tell me they understand my concerns and that they will look into it.

As a person who believes that change can be made if enough voices are heard, part of me believes those representatives when they tell me they will look into the possibility of change in the county races.

As a person who watches politics and has a realist side, I feel that it will not happen and the mood in politics is that no party will relinquish any advantages when it comes to government. It matters not that those offices are not directly involved in government decisions or what my representatives are saying.

It is difficult to admit feeling powerless when it comes to government, especially for someone who believes the power of one voice. It is especially difficult when one believes they have representatives who do care what their constituents think and will do what is best for their district.

But on the Wednesday after a primary election in South Dakota, that feeling that their voices matter not in Pierre when it comes to politics, is weighing heavily on Independents and Democrats.

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