Eighth Circuit Dismisses South Dakota Lawsuit on Petitioner Residency, for Lack of Standing

On May 4, the 8th circuit issued a 7-page opinion in Constitution Party of South Dakota v Nelson, 10-2910. This is a case on the constitutionality of South Dakota’s ban on out-of-state circulators, which has only existed since 2007. The 8th circuit concluded that none of the plaintiffs have standing, and dismissed the case without prejudice.

The out-of-state plaintiff in this lawsuit who wanted to circulate petitions to help the Constitution Party place candidates on its own primary ballot, Mark Pickens, never actually submitted a declaration that he wanted to do this work. Of course, that is not Mark Pickens’ fault; he is not an attorney and was not the person charged with knowing legal technicalities. The 8th circuit’s action in dismissing the case without prejudice is helpful to opponents of state bans on out-of-state circulators. The U.S. District Court Judge had believed the plaintiffs do have standing and had upheld the ban on out-of-state circulators, but his opinion is now overruled.

The next outcome involving bans on out-of-state circulators in states within the 8th circuit will come soon, in a pending Nebraska case, Citizens in Charge v Gale. That case is in U.S. District Court and was argued early this year.

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