On February 10, the Libertarian Party submitted approximately 12,000 signatures to become a qualified party in South Dakota. The legal requirement is 7,928. This is the first petition that the Libertarian Party has submitted in any state since June 2011, when it turned in its Arkansas petition. However, recently the party has been turning in signatures on its New Hampshire petition to the towns on a piece-meal basis. Other Libertarian Party petitions that are over half finished are the North Dakota and Oklahoma petitions.
The South Dakota Libertarian Party had previously completed party petitions in 1994, 2000, and 2004. A party that turns in a South Dakota party petition in a presidential year is automatically on the ballot for the next two elections. But when a party goes through a gubernatorial election and fails to poll as much as 2.5% for Governor, it is removed from the ballot, although it retains its registrants. The only time the South Dakota Libertarian Party ever met the vote test for Governor was in 1994.
Americans Elect and the Constitution Party are also petitioning for party status in South Dakota this year. If both qualify, South Dakota will have five qualified parties on the 2012 ballot, the most qualified parties in South Dakota since the 1910’s decade. The Green Party has never been ballot-qualified in South Dakota.