South Dakota Independent Gubernatorial Candidate Wins Injunctive Relief to Replace His Lieutenant Governor on Ballot

On August 18, U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Piersol granted an injunction, letting independent gubernatorial candidate Michael Myers replace the Lieutenant Governor running mate on the November 2014 ballot. Piersol is a Clinton appointee. This is the first time a federal court in South Dakota has ruled favorably in a ballot access case since 2000. The case is Myers v Gant, 4:14cv-4121.

Myers argued successfully that because South Dakota lets qualified parties replace a nominee who has withdrawn, therefore the Constitution requires that independent candidate tickets must have the same flexibility. The original Lieutenant Governor named on Myers’ ballot access petition had withdrawn and Myers had sued to get the replacement’s name on the ballot.

In 1980, John B. Anderson had not chosen his actual vice-presidential running mate until August 27, after he had finished petitioning in South Dakota and almost all states. South Dakota in 1980 was one of only four states that wouldn’t let Anderson replace the stand-in vice-presidential running mate with the actual vice-presidential candidate, former Governor Patrick Lucey of Wisconsin. Anderson had sued three of the states that wouldn’t let him replace the Vice-President and had won all three lawsuits. But he didn’t get around to suing South Dakota, so this is the first time substitution rights for independents have been recognized in South Dakota.

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